Do You Know The Warning Signs That Could Save Your Child's Life?

Birds on a Wire is grateful to Debbie Causey for taking the time to record this week's Wire Talk with us and for writing this week's blog post. We love it when our kids are happy. We love to experience the joy of making one our kids smile from ear to ear and those little laughs can make our day. Just as our kids' joy brings us joy, nothing compares to experiencing the hurt our kids feel through them as well. Someone once said, a mom is only as happy as her least happy child. Do you ever worry that one of your kids is possibly depressed or that the sadness they feel is a little deeper and stronger than a normally sad child? Well, you may be right. Many kids experience depression and anxiety, but worse yet some kids experience suicidal thoughts even at a young age.

When one of your kids comes to you and says there are no solutions to their problems, or that life just isn’t worth living, do you think they are being dramatic? Maybe they are, but maybe not. Many parents are quick to blow off the symptoms their kids have and are quick to give a spiritual answer to them. Knowing the signs that your son or daughter’s mental health may be in trouble could potentially save their precious life.

Here are some warning signs to look out for:

  • Talking or writing about suicide — statements such as, "I'm going to kill myself," or, "I won't be a problem for you much longer"

  • Extreme difficulty interacting with friends and siblings

  • Persistent drop in school performance

  • Persistent aggressive behavior

  • Threats to self or others. Withdrawing from social contact or isolating

  • Having mood swings

  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs

  • Feeling trapped or hopeless about a situation. There are no solutions. Feeling worthless. No meaning.

  • Changing normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns

  • Doing risky or self-destructive things

  • Giving away belongings when there is no other logical explanation for why this is being done

  • Developing personality changes suddenly or being severely anxious or agitated when experiencing some of the warning signs listed above

If you have noticed any of the above, here are some potential next steps to take. You know your child and their "normal" self. Although there is no one right course of action for any parent to take, the critical thing is to not dismiss this behavior.


1. Step in with love:

  • Talk to your teen and don’t be afraid to use the word “suicide." Ask your teen to talk about his or her feelings and listen, don’t dismiss their problems.

  • Assure them of your love- parents play a critical role!

  • Remind them that he or she can work through whatever is going on - and you are there to help.

  • Find out if they have a plan and if they have a realistic means to carry it out.

    • Passive Ideation: “I wish I was never born, I wish I wasn’t here anymore, I wish I could just fall asleep and never wake up.” Of course these are thoughts are concerning, but they do not necessarily mean that someone is going to take their life.”

    • Active Suicidal thoughts: "Maybe I’ll just take all of my meds." That is a PLAN and you should immediately reach out for help.

2.Reach out to a professional:

  • Call 911 and ask for CITeam or suicide hotline number such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

  • Text “HELLO” to 741741 for a texting mental health professional

  • Take them to a Psychiatrist, Psychologist experienced in diagnosing and treating mental health disorders