TORONTO, Sept. 5, 2012 /CNW/ - "i had a friend who i had been talking to alot, and in the end he killed
himself. he didnt really go to other people, i was his go to. i talked
him out of killing himself alot and when he did do it, i felt like i
failed. i felt like he gave up on me just as much as he gave up on
himself . i feel bad all the time. how could i fail him so bad when i
knew he wanted to hurt himself?" - actual post from kidshelpphone.ca
What do you do if you have a child who comes to you and says he's
worried that a friend is suicidal?
It's something that Kids Help Phone's professional counsellors hear
"A lot of young people worry about how to talk to their parents about
something so intense, sensitive, and complex," says Cheryl-Lynn
Roberts, professional counsellor, Kids Help Phone. "They don't want to
worry their parents or the adults they trust. Or they know their
parents are uncomfortable about certain issues. So often kids end up
talking to their friends, asking them to keep the conversation a
Roberts says that young people who have suicidal thoughts want to be
reminded that there is still hope. That's why they are reaching out.
But upon hearing that their friend is feeling suicidal or that they
want to end their life, a young person may not only feel a lot of pressure and experience a
great sense responsibilities, but they may also be unsure of how to
respond to their friend's needs.
"Keeping something like that a secret can be a big burden on a young
person," Roberts says. "They want to be a loyal friend, but the best
thing to do is to talk to an adult. Both friends need support."
Parents and trusted adults can be of great help to a kid who is worried
about a friend. Even though, "it can be scary for adults to talk to
young people about suicide, it's always a good idea to have that
conversation. Suicide can affect entire communities, and it's a subject
that we must learn to talk about, together. Kids need to know they can
turn to you for the tough stuff."
Why Kids Help Phone wants to talk about this:
September 10th, 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of World Suicide
The theme of World Suicide Prevention Day this year is "Suicide
Prevention across the Globe: Strengthening Protective Factors and
Kids Help Phone agrees: hope is arguably the most influential of all
emotions. It gets us through stressful times and supports recovery.
Kids Help Phone's critical issue report "What's hope got to do with it"
offers tips and practical suggestions on being hope-centric and "doing
hope" with the young people in our lives, available here: http://org.kidshelpphone.ca/en/media-centre/publications
3% of the contacts Kids Help Phone receives relate to suicide,
translating into thousands of contacts from young people in urban,
rural and remote communities throughout Canada
Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24 year old
Canadians, second only to accidents. ( Source: The Canadian Mental
Mental health is increasingly being recognized as an issue affecting the
lives of all youth in Canada. Canada's youth suicide rate is the third
highest in the industrialized world. (Source: The Canadian Mental
Suicide rates of Aboriginal youth (aged 15 to 24) are eight times higher
than the national rate for females and five times higher than the
national rate for males.
Kids Help Phone counsellors have noted an increase in suicide-related
contacts since launching Live Chat counselling earlier this year
How to talk to young people about suicide:
"Not talking about tough issues means the young people in your lives may
not know it is safe to turn to you, and may end up feeling more
isolated or misunderstood," urges Roberts. Here are a few tips that can
help parents start this important discussion:
Do not let fear stop you; open up the conversation. Visit
kidshelpphone.ca with your child it may help you overcome fears and
start a discussion.
Whether your child is sharing their own suicidal thoughts, or is
expressing worry about a friend, try not to judge. Let your child do
the talking, and try to avoid interrupting or expressing
disappointment. Keep in mind that young people are also very sensitive
to body language and facial expressions.
If you suspect your child is in emotional distress or suicidal, talk to
them about it. It's not an easy conversation to have, but it is an
important step that can help your child feel less alone and make it
easier for them to accept support and assistance.
Dealing with a friend who is suicidal is very stressful. Remind your
child that they are doing the right thing in seeking help for their
friend, and support for themself as well. Let them decompress
afterwards, and just talk about what they've gone through and how they
feel about it.
Kids Help Phone's professional counsellors are available for interviews
to share more insights on talking about suicide.
About Kids Help Phone
Since 1989, Kids Help Phone has been Canada's leading online and phone
counselling service for youth. It's free, it's anonymous and
confidential, and it's available any time of the day or night, 365 days
a year in English and in French. Professional counsellors support the
mental health and well-being of young people, ages five to 20, by
providing one-on-one counselling, information and resources. As a
community-based national charity, Kids Help Phone receives no core
government funding and relies on community and corporate support to
fund its essential and vital service. To learn more about Kids Help
Phone, please visit www.kidshelpphone.ca. You can also follow us at: www.kidshelpphone.ca/facebook www.kidshelpphone.ca/twitter www.kidshelpphone.ca/youtube
SOURCE: Kids Help Phone
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