An online game “Blue Whale” has created panic among parents in Russia. This sinister game has been instrumental in causing the suicide of two teenagers in Russia. The game has many levels / challenges and the last challenge urges the players to commit suicide. Teenage suicide has many causes and this game, and other games, which are violent, can be one major cause. Children are facing cyber bullying, apart from being bullied at school. Parents have to be much more vigilant these days and pay attention to their child’s mental health, especially teenagers.
There are many reasons why a child becomes suicidal. Teenage is a vulnerable time and many children undergo a lot of stress trying to cope with new social and academic pressures. Changes or loss of friends and family, loneliness, hopelessness and feeling helpless may trigger suicidal feelings in a child. Parents and others helping a suicidal child often report that the child was suffering from depression. Depression, substance abuse, mental disorders can make a child suicidal. Teachers and parents have to pay attention to children who may be ‘acting out’ or have suddenly become withdrawn and interact in an affectionate, positive manner in order to help the child.
How do you know if your child is suicidal?
Some risk factors you need to know which can help in preventing teen suicide are:
- If your child is depressed, feels unworthy and hopeless
- If he/she talks about death, suicide, life after death, dying
- Poor grades, shows no interest in formerly loved activities
- Bizarre violent behaviour
- Change in eating and sleeping patterns
- If your child has suddenly withdrawn from family and friends
- Displays grief, anxiety, guilt, uncontrolled anger or shame
- Giving away or throwing favourite possessions, and talking about ‘going away’, may indicate the state of your child’s mental health
- Searching for pills or weapons to harm themselves
- If there is a family history of suicide, depression and mental illness
- Knowing / admiring someone who has committed suicide or has displayed suicidal behaviour
- Coping with homosexuality in an unsupportive school, community or family environment
How do your prevent your child from being suicidal
Preventing teen suicide requires perseverance and complete attention from the parents. If there is any medical / substance abuse cause, you have to provide the correct treatment. You have to involve the child in many activities, and create a strong network of peers, family and friends. You have to invest time in your child and help him / her to learn survival skills, such as resolving conflicts, solving problems without violence towards others and oneself.
How can you help a suicidal child?
You can help your child whom you suspect to be suicidal in many ways. The first step in helping a suicidal child is to talk openly about it. The child might feel relieved that you empathise with the deep feelings and intense stress he / she is under, and talking about it would give him/her a safety valve. Explain the benefit of psychotherapy and how medication can help him / her.
You have to let your child know the importance they have in your life, and demonstrate your love by taking out time and listening to him/her. You have to say that you love them and do things which with them, and taking them out or spending time with them at home.
You should never leave a suicidal child alone and unsupervised, and stay in touch with them whenever they are out of the house. Enlist the help of their friends and teachers and keep all weapons, medications etc out of your home. Monitor their online activities so that you know if they are being encouraged in suicidal thoughts by online ‘friends’. Do not engage in any conflict with your suicidal teen and aggravate the situation. Help him / her to see the value of life in positive ways.
According to studies, a huge number of youth or children face some mental health issue. Neglect and abuse, which is intense and persists over time destructs the architecture of the brain. Many adults do not accept that children may have mental health issues and need attention. However, child mental problems are real and can be tackled with professional trauma care help, along with parental support. Every child deserves professional support for mental issues such as depression, which can ensure that they live healthy and happy lives.