Are you the mom or dad of a child who is struggling with depression? Are you tormented not knowing if your child is safe – from themselves? Do you have an uneasy feeling something’s wrong, but can’t put your finger on it? Do you worry they feel worthless, that their life doesn’t matter? If so, this blog is for you. The information here could be crucial for you and your child.
This content is from The National Suicide Prevention Hotline website. These warning signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. The risk is greater one of these behaviors is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If your child exhibits any of these behaviors, seek help as soon as possible by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves. Pay attention to this. Don’t ignore it. You never know when this is a genuine plea for help.
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, hiding pills, obtaining a weapon or the key to your gun case (if you have guns in your home always keep them in a locked place)
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
- Talking about being a burden to others. Repeatedly apologizing for this.
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs. (parents may only see hints of this)
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
- Sleeping too little or too much.
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
- Displaying extreme mood swings.
One parent I know who has personal experience with this, adds several additional things to this list:
– A sudden, unexplainable change in typical behavior.
– Taking down decorations in their bedroom; favorite posters or pictures for no apparent reason.
– Giving away personal belongings, especially if it’s something you know is important to them.
– Acting much more loving toward friends or family members than usual, in a way that is out of character for them; being a little too nice to a sibling they always fight with.
If you have nagging doubts, then call a counselor immediately. If you don’t know of one, then call the toll-free number listed above. At least you can talk with someone who’s knowledgeable about suicide. They can help you determine your next step.
Don’t delay. You don’t want to have any regrets. Times like this call for courageous love. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You discover you were wrong and your child will be mad at you for interfering in their personal business. But that’s okay. They’re life is worth the risk.
You have to be willing to be the enemy for now. One day they’ll understand; they may even forgive you. But if not, you can be strong. You can take it, because your love is big enough and because you’re willing to do anything to save them. You may even hear them say, “Thank you for caring that much about me.”
Sadly, when a suicide occurs, family and close friends often say they never saw it coming. They were blind-sided. I hope with this information that won’t happen to you. Now, you can be proactive. At least you’ll have no regrets.
This Scripture verse is encouraging to me:
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God!” (Proverbs 3:56-6 The Message)
An excellent book on understanding suicide, by a woman who has struggled with it herself is: Night Falls Fast by Kay Redfield Jamison. She’s one of the leading authorities on the subject.