Recently in our community in Dallas, a 11 years old Muslim boy committed suicide after he was teased and bullied at school. We need to be more aware of the emotional and psychological well-being of our children. It’s not enough to simply provide for their comfort, we need to be in tune with their world on a daily basis. There are many signs to look out for in order to prevent any more tragedies in the future.
Signs to Look Out For
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Uninterested in their favorite activities
- Angry and lashing out
- Drastic change in appearance or not concerned about appearance
- Refusing to go to school
- Making statements such as: “I’m worthless” “You will be better off without me” “I hate myself”
- Sleeping either excessively or not sleeping enough
- Eating either excessively or not eating enough
- Crying perpetually
- Talking about death
If you see any of these symptoms you need to connect with your child and find out more about their feelings. Each day find out specifics about their day, their interactions, performance, embarrassing moments, proud moments and disappointments. If you don’t take the time to learn about their day, you won’t be able to guide them through all the challenges they face. They may feel overwhelmed and instead of resolving their issues, they feel it will be easier to simply end the pain by committing suicide.
If your child is not opening up to you, seek professional help so that their mental state can be assessed. Talking about suicide does cause suicide. Not talking about suicide causes suicide! Find out if they have a set plan in taking their lives. If they have a set plan, then it’s very serious and you need to contact a professional. If they don’t have a plan and they simply are depressed, you can do your best to be there for them. Be present for your children emotionally not just physically.
The most important way to prevent suicide is to make your children feel loved, heard, accepted and understood. If you are emotionally connected to your children, they will not feel isolated, lonely and scared. Invest time and energy in your children today to prevent such tragedies in the future.