Talking about Suicide

This week has left a lot of us in despair. Two talented creative celebrities took their own lives. We are left sad, confused, and perhaps angry. So take the time this weekend to talk to your kids about suicide. Share your fears, your sadness, and your concerns.

We often work with middle school students and suicide ideation is a real problem!

Teens feel like they are not good enough, they have too much pressure to succeed, not enough time, they feel constantly judged or criticized by a virtual audience, or they are constantly trying to keep up. These core negative beliefs are not far off from some of the things we might think about ourselves. The different is that we might have more resilience or coping skills to overcome the urge to take our own lives. So don’t wait or put this talk off with your kids. You are not doing them any favors or protecting them by avoiding this topic. We know because in most of all our programs, it comes up. So be brave, be strong, and talk to your kids!

Below is some talking points, tips and signs your child might be having suicidal thoughts.

Definition to Know 

Suicide is the act of intentionally taking one’s life. Suicide is often carried out as a result of despair and helplessness. Suicide is often linked to a mental disorder, unstable home environment, harassment, stalking, substance abuse, stress, and excessive cyberbullying. 

Reasons Teens Might Consider Suicide
  • Inability to find success at school
  • Bad divorced or custody battle
  • Verbal and physical abuse at home
  • Feelings of worthlessness, feeling alone, and trapped
  • Rejection by friends or peers
  • Substance abuse
  • Death of someone close to the teenager or a suicide of a friend
  • Depression and mental instability
  • Sexual abuse
  • Harassment and stalking
  • Lack of attention at home (absent parents)
  • Sexual identity crisis
  • Fear of failure or disappointment
Signs of Suicidal Thoughts
  • Isolation, avoiding friends or family
  • Loss of interest in their favorite things, groups, or activities
  • Unclear thoughts or a change in personality
  • Experience changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Talk about suicide or death in general
  • Express feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, or guilt
  • Exhibit substance abuse, reckless driving, excessive risk taking
  • Changes in personal hygiene and appearance
  • Complains about stomachaches, headaches, hives, fatigue, blurred vision
  • Difficulty accepting praise or rewards
  • Talks negatively about themselves
  • Cutting or self inflicting harm
Strategies to Overcome Depression and Suicidal Thoughts
  • Find a trusted adult you can talk to about your thoughts and problems
  • Try to avoid isolating yourself and find a group or program to help you
  • Journal about how you feel
  • Stay away from drugs and alcohol 
  • Write out positive affirmations or say them out loud
  • Make a list for what you are grateful and what you love
  • Find a support group to help you
 What You Can Do to Help a Friend
  • Speak up, talk to the person, and mention that you are concerned
  • Don’t ignore the issue
  • Call the national hotline 1-800-273-8255 to get advice
  • Listen to your friend and do not judge
    • Talking about suicide, or saying, “Do you want to commit suicide?” will not push someone to do it
    • Reach out to a social worker, school counselor, or a trusted adult
    • Go with the friend to the social worker’s office to get help 
Additional Resources for Discussions

Take some time this month and talk to your kids about depression, isolation, and suicide. Saying the word won’t cause someone to harm themselves. It is when we ignore the signs and overlook these behaviors that we miss an opportunity to save a life.

Sending you lots of love from all of us at Bulldog Solution,
Bulldog Team