Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, resulting in about 4,400 deaths per year. How do you help a child in distress regain a healthy emotional balance and peace of mind? It isn't easy, but it is achievable and must be done if your child is going to thrive into adulthood. In this article I will give a brief explanation of cyber-bullying and what to do if you suspect your child is contemplating suicide.
Cyber-bullying includes the following: a variety of non-physical attacks, spreading gossip, sending hateful messages, as well as posting embarrassing pictures and videos. As innovations are made in electronic communication and electronic media, cyber-bullies will also have access to new technology and will use it for bullying in new and possibly more damaging ways.
Here are some ways to identify if your child is being cyber-bullied.
• Avoiding friend and peer activities
• Not attending school
• Falling or extremely fluctuating grades in school
• Isolating themselves in their rooms
• Increased unexplainable anger, resentment, or mood swings
• Self-destructive behavior such as cutting themselves
• Fascination with violence, weapons, and death
What can you do if you suspect your child is contemplating suicide? Below are some vital steps you can take to gain some understanding of the situation and how to best help your child cope:
• Don't freak out. Simply ask the child directly whether he or she is contemplating suicide. Regardless of the answer, if you feel that he or she is in danger of self-harm, discreetly remove any items from the home that could likely be used in a suicide attempt.
• Listen to anything that they have to tell you without judgment and with a constant focus of concern for the child. If you start judging or throwing around accusations, you will effectively shut off a vital line of communication. You want your child to be able to talk to you.
• Help them to understand that the overwhelming emotions that they are feeling are temporary, and that they will change as the child grows and learns to see things from different perspectives. Helping your child look at the world through a different framework and showing them how to turn a situation from a negative to a positive is an important step that any parent or guardian can take to stabilize the child's emotional health.
• Make an appointment with a mental health professional. Your child may resent you for making them go to counseling or take prescription psychiatric medications in the short-term, but the end result-an emotionally healthy, stable and ALIVE adult-is worth it.