A recent study in Pediatrics (bit.ly/2fncnCe) revealed that young children (5 – 11 years old) who committed suicide were more likely to have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Teenagers (12 – 14 years old) who committed suicide were more likely to suffer from depression or dysthymia. One third (1/3) of children who committed suicide had a mental illness. In order to determine the cause of suicide of children 5 to 14 years old, the study reviewed data from the National Violent Death Reporting System from 2003 to 2012.
Young school aged children who committed suicide were more likely to have family or friend relationship problems. In contrast, teenagers who committed suicide were more likely to have boyfriends or girlfriend relationship problems. The study also revealed that there was a higher rate of suicides among black youth than young of other races. In addition, 29% of young children and teenagers told someone about their intention to commit suicide before they attempted to do so.
If you’re concerned about your child or the child of someone you know committing suicide, you should know the suicide warning signs. Suicide warning signs include, but are not limited to increased seclusion and alone time, increased time spent in their room alone, decreased time spent with friends, decreased time spent in school activities, poor grades or a drop in grades, poor communication, discussion of a desire to commit suicide, increased temper, increased frustration.
An excellent resource is The National Suicide Prevention Line. There are many tools available on their website, suicidepreventionlifeline.org. In addition, their Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Online Chat is also available. If Chat is unavailable, then please call the Lifeline, as help is available 24/7. It is anonymous and confidential. They even have a Safe Space with a set of three (3) You Tube videos to help with relaxation (suicidepreventionlifeline.org/safe-space).
It is important to (1) know the warning signs for suicide among young children and teens, (2) be aware that ADD, ADHD and depression place these children at a higher suicide risk, and (3) know where to call for help.