This article on how to talk to your child about suicide is sponsored by Highland Springs Clinic. Notice the warning signs of suicide and never, ever give up hope for your child. Find happiness again.
Kids Deserve The Truth
Don’t lie to your kids about something so serious. Especially if you’re discussing events in your family, children need to trust their parents when it comes to this kind of issue.
You can always temper the discussion so it’s age or personality appropriate. Talking about death is frightening and fear is not the goal here. Suicide and depression may seem most relevant to teens, but you may need to bring this up with children as young as 10.
Pick The Right Moment
Sometimes an event in the news or in your circle of friends or family will precipitate a discussion with your child, but you don’t need to wait. Add it to the list of important and practical information they need to get from you directly.
Find a time when you can have your child one on one. Car rides are excellent opportunities. Turn off the radio and phones, and let them be a captive audience. They may be uncomfortable with the topic, but you probably will be as well. Acknowledge that. Show them it is possible to have hard conversations.
Tell Them About Mental Health & Depression
Mental health issues are extremely common and touch most families. When you talk about mental illness, refrain from blame or judgement. Talk about it the same way you talk about physical illness. Just like physical illness, mental illness and depression can and should be diagnosed and treated.
Suicide is such a tender subject that you may want to prepare yourself ahead of time. Think about how you will talk about this subject specifically. There’s nothing wrong with scripting it out a little so you can make sure you say what you want to say.
Prepare For Questions
Your child may or may not have any questions for you in the moment. But you should definitely have some questions of your own prepared.
Be direct and ask if their friends ever talk about suicide. Ask their opinion of suicide and if they have ever thought about it. If their response is upsetting, don’t overreact. Instead be honest. Tell them how much it worries you and make plans to address the issue.
Have An Expert In Your Corner
With a quick search online, you can get more than enough material for this conversation. As you research, check the credentials of the publishing organization. You don’t want bad info. Run the conversation past your family doctor. They will have good insight and expert resources.
Also contact a local expert organization like Highland Springs Clinic. They are an invaluable resource in making sure your family is in great health. Paying attention to your physical health helps you avoid serious problems in the future. The same goes for your mental health.