Suicide is a very scary word for a lot of mums, and many like to think that they would never have to deal with that kind of tragedy in their home. But, unfortunately, according to the International Association for Suicide Prevention
, “suicide is the second leading cause of death in the 15-29 age group”. This brings home just how important it is to look out for the signs and know how to help your teen.
Marguerite Kiely, clinical manager at Pieta House
- the centre for the prevention of self-harm or suicide – has noticed a gradual increase in suicide among our young adults. And, unfortunately, there are a number of reasons that teenagers may consider it, most notably cyber-bullying.
According to Marguerite, communication with your teen is so important to help them through difficult times. This includes talking about struggles and highlighting how it is normal to go through tough experiences. However, as she explains, your son or daughter may find it hard to open up to you as “very often they are minding [their] parent’s reaction” i.e they are worried about how you will react.
There are a number of things that mums, who are concerned, should look out for - Marguerite suggests you keep an eye out for the following: a change in teen’s sleep patterns, shutting themselves away, giving up hobbies, losing interest in peers, losing appetite, giving away possessions, talking of suicide – “nobody would miss me” – having a tunnel vision or listening to heavy songs about death. She also suggests you are extra vigilant if there has been a suicide in your teen’s environment. Unfortunately a suicidal person, who is feeling alone, can look at a funeral as a glorified event, and might yearn for that kind of attention.
If you do suspect or are worried about your teen and suicide, Marguerite advices you bring your son or daughter to the GP, or call Pieta House for advice. As she says, trust your instinct and always “think safety first”.