No child is immune to the risk of suicide, but statistics show some kids may be more vulnerable than others to thoughts of ending their lives. Many different factors, and combinations of them, can contribute to suicide risk.
Awareness of the following risk factors can help youngsters recognize if their siblings, friends or other children they know needs extra supervision, support, and chances to talk:
▪ Previous suicide attempts
▪ Sexual orientation
▪ Family history
▪ Other psychiatric illness
▪ Use of alcohol and other substances
▪ Behaviour problems
▪ Local epidemics of suicide
▪ Easy access to guns, other lethal methods
▪ Bullying and cyber bullying
With suicide now the second most common cause of death among young people between ages 10-24, it's important to know the risk factors and be ready to support them.
Keep supportive and non-judgemental lines of communication open with children, especially if they are at increased risk. Get them help if you think they're having thoughts of suicide. A pediatrician can connect your family and friends circle with mental health professionals who can help.
(My artwork depicts a depressed kid with a supportive elder one)