Teen suicide attempt. How can we know this will not happen again?

by Rod Smith

READER: Our daughter (16) attempted suicide. She wants more freedom, more trust, less supervision and less “intrusion” from us. My husband and I are devastated. How can we know this will not happen again?

ROD: Never take suicide threats lightly. Even the suggestion of suicide must be met head on with the full arm of whatever resources are available. Avoid “deal-making” with your daughter (“we will do this if you will do that”). Teen suicide, I believe is a family affair, be sure to see a therapist who will see the whole family together at least some of the time.

The act of writing to me for help indicates that you have it within you to find the professional assistance you need. Ask your doctor, friends, anyone who might know and find the best resources available in the greater Durban and KWA-Zulu area to help suicidal children.

If you, reading this, are a professional mental health worker dealing with adolescent suicide, kindly email me your contact details, and a brief sketch your work and training. I will forward this information to the parents of this young woman that they might choose a suitable therapist for the family.

One Comment to “Teen suicide attempt. How can we know this will not happen again?”

  1. I felt suicidal when I was 12 or so. My mom took me to a therapist who put me on prozac. Now I believe that was an easy fix for him and the wrong one. Counseling with the parents, atleast one, seems to me would have helped better. I recall wanting attention in which I searched for from boys, which was another bad choice. I felt so out of place in junior high and high school. My period came that year. Peer pressure and wanting to be popular it’s no wonder young girls feel no hope. There is so much cruelty in school. Home needs to be a safe haven. Equal balance of responsibility and safe fun. I know parents are busy with their work, and lives and other kids if any. But it is very important that this girl have both parents show interest in her and her ideas or talents. The YMCA is a great place to look to also, or church activities. One important thing I plan to imprint my children with is that school and all the problems you face in school, stay in school. When you grow up and leave all those adolescents you become adults and it doesn’t matter anymore. Be you and focus on you not what others think of you. In the long run it not what makes you happy, you do and your family, who will always be there for you.

    Best wishes to them and all families facing this. I have 5 year old twins (boy/girl) and a 6 year old boy. I am not looking forward to the teen years at all. It will be tough.

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