Teen suicide is PREVENTABLE
- Talking about wanting to commit suicide or wanting to harm themselves
- Writing about wanting to commit suicide by means of poems, assignments or essays
- Not taking anti-depressants that was prescribed
- Being isolated – not have a need to engage with his/her peer group
- Change in personality and habits such as eating and sleeping habits
- Constantly and excessively verbalising that he/she is good enough
- Change in behaviour – the teenager is completely different to how he/she use to be
- Not having any hopes and dreams for the future
- Having severe anger outbursts, being very aggressive and have unpredictable mood swings
Many times teenagers threaten to commit suicide and it is then viewed as that the child is seeking attention. No suicidal thoughts should ever be ignored or seen as a mere threat. Here are some tips on how to prevent your teen from committing or attempting to commit suicide:
- Have an open relationship with your child where your child feels free to communicate with you. The best way to improve on the relationship is to be on par with your child’s needs and to listen attentively to what they say
- Identify your child’s emotions whilst listening and do not dismiss how they feel about anything. Don’t make them feel that they are overacting, rather acknowledge the feeling and provide support.
- Share your feelings as well so that your child learn to meet you halfway
- Encourage the child to mingle with his/her peer group
- Do not expose your child to violence in the home for example partner-violence
- Act immediately when your child disclose sexual, physical abuse or being bullied
- Encourage your child to exercise in order to prevent stress
- If your child verbalised suicide thoughts or has made attempts, hide any harmful weapons and objects such as firearms, knives, ropes, medication, gas and alcohol.
If you as a parent or caregiver followed the abovementioned steps and still see troublesome behaviour regarding suicide with your child, contact a professional such as a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist for further assistance. Do not feel alone. Seek help and guidance immediately.