Suicidal Ideation Child
Suicide is often the result of many factors. These will differ from child to child. Many children are having problems coping with stress. They may feel overwhelmed and hopeless.
They may also have a mental health, problem such as depression. This can cause suicidal thoughts. It can also make stress much worse.
This problem is higher in children with:
- Substance use problems
- Any mental health problem, such as depression, ADHA, autism, or anxiety
- A history of self-harm
- A long-term health problem
Other things that may raise the risk are:
- A lack of a support system
- Poor coping skills
- Major changes in a child's life, such as problems at school or with other people in their lives
- Prior trauma or abuse
- Being bullied
- Prior behavior that was impulsive or violent
- Prior suicide in the family
- Exposure to others who have died by suicide
- Taking certain medicines, such as antidepressants or anti-seizure medicines
- Prior suicide attempts
- Easy access to items that could be used for self-harm, such as guns
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A child who is thinking about suicide may:
- Talk about wanting to die or take their own life
- Talk about feelings of despair
- Plan for death, such as by giving away favorite items
- Withdraw from family and friends
The child may also be:
- Very moody
- Having problems staying focused
- Doing poorly in school
- Uninterested in activities, such as school and hobbies
- Causing self-harm, such as cutting or burning
- Losing or gaining weight
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Changing how they look or not care about hygiene
- Using alcohol or drugs
Treatment is needed right away. A child may be treated in a hospital. This is mainly true if they are at high risk or have tried to take their own life.
Single, family, or group therapy will be used to help handle suicidal thoughts.
The goals of care are:
- Get treated for any mental, physical, and substance abuse problems
- Make it harder to get items that may be used for self-harm
- Build a support system of family, friends, and mental health experts
- Build skills in problem solving, dealing with conflicts, and handling problems through nonviolent means
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Suicidal Thinking)
American Psychiatric Association https://www.psychiatry.org
Mental Health America http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net
Canadian Psychiatric Association https://www.cpa-apc.org
Canadian Mental Health Association https://cmha.ca
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