In September, we recognize Suicide Prevention Month. One of the places where suicide should be taken more seriously is in schools. High school has always been a place where suicide has been a topic, but it seems nowadays, the age of children dying by suicide younger. The reason is that some school are places where children can be so mean and cruel that a child loses hope and does not want to go on living.
In many schools across the country, you hear horrible stories of children that are bullied in school because of their classmates. With the recent increase in deaths of children, there has been a link between bullying and suicide. Often the children that are dying by suicide have been the victims of bullying.
During this month, schools must take the time to have these difficult conversations with students about suicide and the causes of suicide. During this month of prevention, parents must be made aware of the factors that can lead to suicide, so they can also see the warning signs in their children. Teachers and educators should be mindful of signs, so they can notice them and take action.
For parents, if you want to be aware and prevent your child from becoming a victim, you must know the best ways to spot bullying in your children’s lives is by watching their moods. A change in mood can say a lot about what your child is feeling. Parents need to watch these moods as sudden changes can mean something is seriously wrong. Parents, if you notice your child is suddenly anxious, stressed, or talk more often about how much they hate school and do not want to go, take notice. Parents should pay attention if their child says that they do not have any friends at school, or they say that no one likes them at school. As a parent, you must ensure that if you suspect your child is suicidal that you get them to help immediately. The longer you wait to get your child help, the harder it will be, and eventually, it may be too late. Parents must pay close attention to the signs because it is something those early indicators that can help before situations get more out of hand.
For my teachers and educators, we have seen or read recently how stressors at school have led to the death of many children, even as young as eight years old. We know that many teachers are not prepared in their programs to deal with the trauma that some students suffer. We also know about the lack of mental health educators in schools can make it difficult and add even more of a burden on teachers, but teachers must know what to look for such as: isolation, mood swings, rage/anger, or sleeping all the time. These are just some of the warning signs, and we know there are plenty more.
Children spend a lot of time at school, and it is the job of school staff in the building to keep them safe. Effective suicide prevention is important to the overall health services of the school community. As we partake in National Suicide Prevention Month, we must ensure that all the staff in the building are prepared to support students who feel that suicide is their only choice.