Growing up can be difficult for a lot of people. Anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues are becoming increasingly common in children. As a parent, you might not know how to help your child, even if you recognize some of the warning signs. That’s okay! Keep on reading to learn about the most important 5 things parents can do to prevent suicide.
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is simply listening to your child. No matter their age, children often face a variety of difficulties at school and at home. Whether it’s a bad breakup, peer pressure, or a bully that’s bothering them, listening is an important first step in helping your child get better.
Spend Some Quality Time
Something as natural as taking your child for a walk or playing a board game with them can make a big difference. Children who have strong relationships with their parents are less likely to develop anxiety and depression. But building a deep emotional bond with your child takes time – so spend it with them!
Get Your Kid Moving!
Experts agree: everyone benefits from getting active. If you’re worried that your child is showing signs of struggling with mental health, one of the best things you can do is get them involved with a sport or physical activity that they enjoy. Whether it’s hitting the weight room or tearing up the soccer field, moving around is a great way to get mentally and physically fit.
Be Aware of the Warning Signs
Studies tell us that most suicide attempts come after repeated warning signs. It’s important to know what those signs are and what to do when you encounter them. Some risk factors include:
- Sudden changes in personality or behavior
- Not sleeping or eating well
- Losing friends and spending too much time alone
- Talk of harming yourself or others
Take Action Early On
While asking for help from a doctor or mental health professional is always a good first move, there are a few things you can do yourself.
- Talk to your child and provide emotional support
- Encourage them to share their feelings with you
- Limit their access to guns, knives, and dangerous substances
- Speak with other parents, teachers, and coaches to better understand your child’s social environment
- Don’t be afraid to ask your kid if they’ve been having thoughts of suicide
Most importantly, make sure your child understands how important they are to you. Home should be a place of comfort and support where they can express their feelings and difficulties. Finally, convince them of the benefits of talking out their problems with a mental health professional – it can make a world of difference.
In the end, there are far more methods to help your child than these 5 things. Parents can prevent suicide in any number of ways, and it’s vital to find the right balance for your family. But by following through with the items on this list, you can hopefully start off on the right path.