|If you feel danger is imminent, call 911 or take your child to the emergency room.|
Nobody likes to talk about this topic. It is difficult to think that your child may be at risk. Children often leave a trail of warning signs but often do not make a direct plea for help. If you can pick up these warning signs you may be able to do something. Warning signs include:
- Withdrawal from friends, family and activities
- Change in eating patterns
- Preoccupation with death (e.g. music, movies, reading, writing, artwork)
- Giving away valued personal possessions
- Glorification of someone’s completed suicide – often famous people – musicians, etc.
- Suicide pact or suicide of significant other
- Changes in school work: lower grades, missing classes
- Increased use of drugs and/or alcohol
- Excessive risk taking
- Sudden change of behaviour – either positive or negative
- Depression, moodiness or hopelessness
- Excessive anger and impulsivity
- Previous attempts of suicide
- Serious illness of family or friend
Treatment has been proven to be 70% effective in preventing further suicide attempts.
How to Respond:
Remind them that you care and that you love them and that you want to help them through this. Offer support and reassurance that suicidal feelings do not last forever. Talking to your child can be difficult but can help them feel less alone. Remember not to judge or express disappointment or anger. Take a deep breath and try to stay calm on the outside. Really listen and allow your child to talk freely.
1. Be gentle in opening up the discussion such as mentioning the changes you have noticed in them.
2. Ask directly: “Are you thinking about suicide?” ”Are you thinking of killing yourself?”
3. Don’t minimize their feelings or suggest they have nothing to worry about. It’s their perspective that matters.
4. Remind them that you care and that you love them and that you want to help them through this. Offer support and reassurance that suicidal feelings do not last forever.
- Take every cry for help seriously.
- Ensure they have the local crisis lines, the Kids Help Phone number and the website address for Your Life Counts (provides online counselling) – program them into the phone and post them in the house for you and your child. See useful links below.
- Get Help – don’t do it alone. Contact: Family, friends, relatives, clergy, doctors, crisis lines*, mental health services or hospital emergency departments. It is crucial to get a suicide/self-harm assessment completed by a certifiedc professional if a person is suicidal.
If you feel danger is imminent, call 911 or take your child to the emergency room.
Links or Useful Resources on SUICIDE:
Canadian Mental Health Association – Grand River Branch - www.cmhawwd.ca - 519-766-4450 or 1-866-448-1603
Centre for Suicide Prevention - www.suicideinfo.ca or for a toolkit of ideas:
Kids Help Phone – www.kidshelpphone.ca or 1-800-668-6868
Mind Your Mind – www.MindYourMind.ca
To Write Love on Her Arms – www.TWLOHA.com
Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council – www.wrspc.ca or 519-884-1470 Ext. 2143
Mood Disorders Association of Ontario – www.mdao.ca - 1-888-486-8236
Ontario Association for Suicide Prevention - www.ospn.ca
Wilmot Family Resource Centre – Suicide Awareness for Wilmot-Wellesley (SAWW) or 519-622-2731
Your Life Counts – www.YourLifeCounts.org