Suicide in Young Children – What are the signs?

There are several warning signs that someone may be at increased risk of suicide, and they are:

  • suicide notes — these should always be taken seriously
  • threatening suicide — direct or indirect
  • previous attempts of suicide
  • depression, particularly in the presence of thoughts of helplessness and hopelessness
  • risk-taking behavior, particularly anything involving gun play, aggression, or substance abuse
  • making final arrangements — this might involve giving away prized possessions
  • efforts to hurt themselves, such as self-mutilating behavior and self-destructive acts
  • inability to concentrate or think rationally
  • changes in physical habits and appearance, such as insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping far too much), sudden weight gain or loss, disinterest in basic hygiene
  • great interest in death and suicidal themes — it might manifest in their journal, school papers, drawings
  • sudden changes in friends, personality and behavior, or withdrawal from family and friends
  • increased interest in things dealing with suicide — a sudden interest in guns or other weapons, pills, or even alluding to suicidal plans
  • vulnerable teens and young adults swayed by media reports of celebrity suicides, or the romanticized representation of suicide in movies and television
  • low levels of communication between parent and child — family discord has not been decisively shown to be a major risk factor for suicide, but it further exacerbates other problems such as depression, alcohol and drug abuse
  • being bullied or victimized, or being a bully