Teen suicide. The worst sort of death for any parent. As if there are good ones? Maybe just ones where we can say, “it was an illness or an accident.” These deaths may make the story have some sort of ending. A closure of sorts, though grief and the loss will be there as waves lapping our heart shores. It is very hard to find closure or understanding about a child taking their life. And it is likely, as parents, that we will spend time blaming ourselves. I imagine the guilt can be overwhelming for many parents. Beyond the guilt and blame though, is just a huge amount of grief.
Someone in my child’s school decided this was an option last week. So much pain. His and everyone else left behind. How do we feel, think, live through this with ourselves and our children?
I am grateful to the work being done by Forefront at the University of Washington in both suicide prevention and after-care.
Our young people face so many pressures these days, and though there is more talk and acknowledgement among them about stress, and anxiety, some people still hide their thoughts about suicide; they hide their pain. Many teenagers think about suicide, it’s not unusual. But if you hear someone talking about it, take it seriously. Listen to what they are saying. We lose two youths to suicide every WEEK, in Washington state.
There have been programmatic presentations about suicide at our child’s school this year. They were helpful in the “how to observe who may be having suicidal thoughts.” They even suggest possible prevention and intervention methods. Though clearly, we can’t always know or prevent them, I feel that the more information we have about how to talk to teens, or anyone we think might be exhibiting “calls for help” (often called warning signs), the better.
Here are some things to look for.
Please contact someone if you know, or suspect someone needs help.