Making Space | How to Help a Child At Risk of Suicide
If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (en espanol: 1-888-628-9454 | deaf and hard of hearing: dial 711, then 1-800-273-8255). You can also utilize the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
For free mental health trainings, including suicide prevention trainings such as QPR: please visit Get Trained to Help https://gettrainedtohelp.com/en/.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the mental health crisis, especially among our youth in the United States. More and more families are dealing with their children feeling anxious and depressed along with suicidal ideations according to the NPR article linked below. Suicide is preventable, but parents and family members play an important role.
If you are reading this post, you may be asking what can parents and family members do to prevent suicide? One place to start is accessing educational resources and information. SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) https://save.org/ provides educational programming such as a guide (Parents as Partners) https://save.org/product/parents-as-partners/ that contains information about the warning signs of suicide, recommendations for how to address possible suicide risk in your children, and other resources.
Along with education, parents and family members need to be ready to help problem-solve and find reasons to hope if their child expresses any indication of suicidal ideations or attempts. Psychologist, Ursula Whiteside told NPR to use language like: "We'll go and get whatever help you need so that you can feel better and be your best." The other important suggestion that Ursula has is to ask your children what they need in terms of what support would look like in getting that help. She also suggests for parents to visit their children's primary care physician as they will know what to do for next steps if that involves seeking a referral for a psychiatrist or counselor.