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Suicidal Thoughts and Self Harm

Frequently Asked Questions

My child is having thoughts of harming themselves what should I do?

The first thing to establish is whether the suicidal thoughts are active or passive. Active means they are wanting or planning to kill themselves right now. Passive suicidal thoughts mean they are having or expressing thoughts like, "I wish I were dead or wouldn't wake up tomorrow," but is not actively planning to harm themselves. If you or your loved one is actively considering killing themselves right now, this is a psychiatric emergency and you need to call 911 to have yourself or your loved one transported to a hospital. Suicide is the second highest cause of death in the US for ages 10-34. Additionally, the suicide rate in females between the ages of 15 and 19 has more than doubled between 2007 and 2015. 


If you or your loved ones are having suicidal thoughts, it is vital that you schedule an appointment with a psychiatrist.  Medication and therapy have both been proven to reduce suicide rates.  



Ok, I have an appointment scheduled with a psychiatrist, what should I do in the meantime?

If your child is having suicidal thoughts, it is important to discuss the causes and how child plans to harm themselves. Addressing both the cause and access to suicidal means is critical. 55% of suicides are committed with firearms and the second most common means of suicide (22%) is poisoning (such as medication overdose). Therefore it is important that firearms are removed from the house. Children have been known to find keys to gun safes or guess combination locks and kill themselves. Storing firearms at a friend or other family member's house is better than having a firearm in the house of a person who is suicidal.


It is also important that medication is placed in an area that children can’t reach. Particularly lethal medications which include Tylenol (acetaminophen), Opioids, and Lithium among many others.



My child self-harms, what does this mean?

Most of the time self-harm is a way for someone to feel something when they otherwise feel dead or numb. Sometimes it is a cry for help. It always means that the person is not mentally well and needs mental health treatment. Frequently cutting or self-harm means the child is depressed and requires some form of treatment. Self-mutilation can evolve into a desire for suicide, so it is very important that psychiatric treatment is sought.

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