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Parents Talking to Their Children About Suicide

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1 month ago

Suicide has always been and will always be a deeply disturbing reality, difficult to comprehend or process much less discuss. A parent may wonder how to talk about this serious topic with their child if a suicide has touched the family or the local community. Some things for parents to consider include:

  • Adjust the comments or discussion about suicide to the age and maturity of the child and what they can process or understand.

  • Emphasize that the person who died by suicide likely suffered from depression and was not in their right mind when taking his or her life, and encourage a compassionate response

  • That the death was not caused by anyone, no one is to blame

  • If a school offers grief counseling, encourage your child or teen to participate

  • Do not invalidate the child’s emotions (anger, shame, sorrow) following the suicide of a loved one. Instead, encourage them to share their feelings while allowing the parent to offer comfort.

One of the most troubling trends in recent years is the escalating rate of suicide, particularly among teens and young adults. Suicide is now the 2nd leading cause of preventable death for this cohort. Therefore, it is important to open up lines of communication with kids from about age 10 regarding mental health.

Encourage the child or teen to communicate with you when they are experiencing sadness, depression, stress, or worry that doesn’t seem to go away. Give them tools for healthy mental functioning, such as involvement in sports and exercise, a healthy diet, and open communication lines to discuss any concerns they might have. Parents should place as much emphasis on a child’s mental health as any other aspect of their life.

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Comments

Mental health should probably be opened up at a younger age though. I do think the more recent parents are far more open in discussing this issue than the older generations

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