If you’re worried that your child is having thoughts of ending their life, there are things you can do to help with their safety and wellbeing.
Encourage your child to talk to someone about how they’re feeling. Sometimes it helps if this is outside the family – your child may feel confused or ashamed about how they feel.
Your child can contact one of the following support services:
If you’re worried about your child but you don’t think they’re at immediate risk, you can try to help them work through their feelings. Make sure your child knows you’re there for them, and they can talk to you about anything.
If your child feels OK speaking about their feelings with you, ask a professional to help you create a ‘safety plan’. This is a way to navigate difficult thoughts and feelings. It can help them work out how they can cope with suicidal thoughts, and to spot any triggers. Papyrus is one service that can support with this.
You can also encourage them to think about what helps to relax them. This may be activities they enjoy. It might be creating a self-soothe box. Or use techniques for helping with anxious feelings or stress.
Let your child’s school know that your child is struggling so they can offer support. It may also be worth looking into support from your local NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
Make sure you go at your child’s pace when offering them support. If they don’t want to talk about how they’re feeling, don’t force them. You can also:
It’s important that you also get support. Remember to be kind to yourself – parenting is different for everyone, and it’s not always easy. Being able to work through your emotions will put you in a stronger position to help your child.
Try to speak to someone you trust about what’s happening. You can also find strategies online to help you cope. Mind has advice on this.
If you need to speak to someone independent, call the NHS urgent mental health helpline. Or text ‘Shout’ to 85258 for 24/7 mental health text support. You may also want to talk to your GP about what you’re experiencing. If you’re in crisis, please call one of the helplines listed above.
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