Are you the mom or dad of a child who is struggling with suicidal ideation (thoughts and fantasies of taking their life). Do they struggle with bipolar, depression, PTSD, or schizophrenia? Are you tormented not knowing if they’re safe or not – from themselves? Do you have an uneasy feeling that something is wrong but can’t put your finger on it? Do you worry they feel worthless and their life doesn’t matter? If so, this is for you. This information in this blog could be crucial for you and your child.
This material is from The National Suicide Prevention Hotline website. The following signs may mean someone is at risk for ending their life. The risk of suicide is greater if a behavior is new or has increased, or if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If your child exhibits any of these signs, seek help as soon as possible by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). A trained individual will be there to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including holidays.
- Talking about wanting to die or 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.
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
- Displaying extreme mood swings.
A parent I know asked me to add several additional warning signs to this list from their personal experience:
– A sudden, unexplainable change in typical behavior.
– Undecorating their bedroom; taking down favorite posters or pictures for no apparent reason.
– Giving away personal belongings, especially if it’s something you know is important to them.
– Being more loving to friends or family members than usual; out of character for them. A little too nice to a sibling they always fight with.
If you have nagging doubts, call a counselor immediately. If you don’t know of one to call, then call the toll-free number listed above. At least you can talk with someone who is knowledgeable on this subject. They can help you determine your next step.
Don’t delay. You don’t want to have any regrets. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You find out you were wrong and your child will be mad at you. It won’t be the first time, or the last, right?
This calls for courageous love. It requires you to be willing to be the enemy — for now. Are you willing?
One day they’ll understand; they may even forgive you and thank 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 your child.
Sadly, when a suicide occurs, family members and closest friends often say they were completely blind-sided; they never saw it coming. I hope that won’t happen to you. Now you can be proactive and not have any regrets.
This Scripture verse is comforting: “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)
O God, Author of Life,
Comfort and strengthen every parent who reads this blog. Reinforce their courage to do hard things, whatever it takes to save their child’s life. Open their eyes to see warning signs. Guide them to their next step. Prompt them to make a call, then divinely connect them with the right person who can speak to their situation. Show them how to trust you in this great struggle. Thank you that you care. Thank you that we are not alone in our trials. Amen.