Suicide is the act of intentionally and purposefully ending one’s life.
It is not uncommon for people of all ages to experience thoughts about wanting to harm themselves or end their life, particularly when in crisis or experiencing a distressing life event.
It can be difficult to notice if a young person is experiencing thoughts and urges or even making plans to end their life, particularly as suicidal thoughts and urges can occur unexpectedly especially among adolescents.
It may help your young person to know that when we are in pain, our clever, problem solving mind tries to solve the problem of feelings. The mind comes up with all sorts of solutions that are most often about trying to avoid the pain, such as numbing with alcohol, or sleeping excessively. When the pain feels like it is never going away, the mind comes up with the idea of suicide as a solution to the problem of feeling pain. If we engage with thoughts of suicide, we start to think it could be a reality and we feel 'suicidal' or have 'suicidal thoughts'. Sometimes, people will act on these thoughts in an effort to stop their pain.
Some signs your child may be struggling with suicidal thoughts include, but are not limited to;
Every young person could benefit from having their own coping plan, whether they are known to experience episodes of crisis or not. A coping plan can be completed by anyone but should always be done with a young person.
A coping plan should consider the following;
Watch a video of someone completing this coping and crisis plan with a young person here:
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Video description: Stop All The Clocks - A film about suicide
Video description: Grounding Techniques
Video description: Breathing Techniques
Video description: Make your own self-soothe box
Video description: A-Z of coping strategies
Video description: CARE (Coping and Resilience Education Skills); A 45minute workshop for adults on understanding young people's emotions and how to support them with emotional resilience and mental health