CHILDLINE ADVICE: Support for children struggling with thoughts of suicide

How to help support children who are battling dark thoughts.How to help support children who are battling dark thoughts.
How to help support children who are battling dark thoughts.
It’s difficult to consider that children and young people could experience suicidal thoughts.

Last year, 25,000 children reached out to Childline last who were actively suicidal or had suicidal feelings, making it one of the top three concerns discussed by children.

So, as we approach World Suicide Prevention Day this Thursday, I want to go through some advice for supporting children who may be struggling with these feelings.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

One young person told Childline: “I’ve been depressed for a while now but recently it’s been getting worse to the point where I want to end my life, because I just don’t know how to cope anymore.

It can be useful to familiarise ourselves with the signs that a child might feel suicidal, and how we can help them feel better.

A child who is feeling suicidal might have had behavioural changes, like being more withdrawn or anxious. They might also stop looking after themselves, potentially not washing or caring about their appearance.

Young people might also give away things that they own, or put themselves in dangerous situations with things like drugs and alcohol. They could even make off-hand comments like “I don’t want to be here anymore”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There’s no denying that it would be incredibly tough to hear this from your own child. But there are ways to help.

Just being there for them to talk to can help. Try to reassure them that it’s ok to feel overwhelmed, and there are ways for them to get support. It may be useful for them to talk to a GP, who can provide referrals to therapy or medication.

It can be good to suggest things for them to look forward to, like having a weekly bike ride or film

night together, or even longer term like working towards their dream job.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Remember, children can always visit the Childline website for free 1-2-1 counselling, to talk through their feelings with a trained counsellor, who can provide advice and support. Meanwhile, parents can get in touch with the NSPCC Helpline for further guidance, by emailing [email protected] or calling 0808 800 5000.