What can parents do for Teen Suicide Prevention?
As a parent, you have a significant role in uplifting your child’s mental health. Anyone contemplating suicide often try to share their stories with their closed ones – especially their parents. It might come as a surprise or shock to know that your child has suicidal ideation – but it is not uncommon. Kids (especially teenagers) go through enormous psychological stress in today’s day and time, and it takes them a Herculean effort to deal with them, which, unfortunately, not all of them are equipped to do. To them, it might often seem like their whole world is crumbling and there is no escape, but you, as parents can make them believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Here are a few things you can do as parent to prevent teen suicide –
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Listen to your kids – even when they are not talking
We all lead busy lives. We don’t have enough time for each other. We are hustling and trying to get somewhere, and often forget that there’s someone waiting for us to listen to them. We understand that you’re busy, but please always take out time to listen to what your children have to say, what they are feeling and talk to them about what they are experiencing in school and with friends. Listen to them even more diligently when they aren’t talking – because it might be the loudest cry for help.
When you make them believe that you are there for them and you are listening, they will feel safe. They will confide in you, and ask for help if they need it. Don’t let them suffer in silence.
Be aware of the signs
Anyone with mental illness and/or suicidal ideation show various signs – and if you pay attention, you will recognize the signs. Be aware. Be aware if your child is acting differently. Be aware if s/he is overcompensating positivity. Be aware if they are talking about death a lot. Be aware if they are asking for help.
They always show signs and many of the times, we fail to recognize them. But if you pay attention, you will be able to see them.
Take them to a therapist
If you recognize the signs and understand that your child needs help, talk to them about the steps to take moving forward and most importantly, take them to a therapist. Don’t overwhelm them with the idea of therapy. Normalize it for them, like it’s just another doctor’s visit and it can help them get better.
We often disregard therapy for children thinking it’s for adults with bigger problems or it’s too big of a step for a dramatic and an over-emotional child. But it’s not true. A child’s emotions are as important as an adult’s and should be taken equally seriously. So, take your child to therapy – it will help them and you!
Related: FREE ONLINE COUNSELLING WEBSITES
Support them in the recovery
The therapist can’t solve everything. S/he can give your child a direction towards healing but it’s just one hour a week that they are with your kid, but you are with them a majority of the time. Therefore, your support in the recovery process is vital. Be present and support your child in the healing process. Always make sure they know that you support them fully and will be there for them no matter what.
Related: HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE DEPRESSION
Always ask questions, when you are confused. I know, dealing with a kid who is going through these unpredictable circumstances is quite difficult but there are so many people that can help you. You have Google that has all the answers, but most importantly, ask questions to the therapist if you are confused about something. They will help you figure it out. You can even ask your child some questions and maybe they have the answer. You don’t have to figure it out on your home – help is available.
We are living in a time where suicide is of great concern. We often forget that children go through problems as well – and it is the responsibility of parents to make sure the kids are supported and motivated to make correct decisions and heal themselves. If you have a child, always make sure you listen to them and support them whether they ask for help or not.