Having the Hard Conversation

If your child talks about dying and not wanting to live anymore or is continuously down and not doing any of the things she enjoy, you must start talking to her about suicide. This is a hard conversation topic for anyone. Some people think talking about suicide causes suicide to occur. That is not true. In fact, talking about suicide can be an excellent prevention tool. People who are not suicidal reject the idea, and people who may be thinking about it often welcome the chance to talk. They feel someone else recognizes their pain.

As a parent, you must accept the possibility that your child may be at risk of suicide.
Then, ask these questions:

  • Are you thinking about suicide?
  • Are you thinking about killing yourself?
  • Do you have a plan?
  • Do you have the means to do it (a way to do it)?

If your child answers yes to these questions, you need to get help immediately, do not leave your child alone. Reassure her that help is available and that you will assist her in finding the right help. Be careful you do not take over and try to ‘fix’ things for your child.

Making significant changes can be a long process and there will be some bumps along the way. The journey begins with a conversation. It will take courage, time, space, patience and skill to start this conversation.

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