The pressures of modern life, anxiety disorders, and depression are common emotional and psychological problems that children nowadays face at a very young age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the third leading cause of death among the youth ages 10 to 24. Suicide prevention and intervention programs in the ongoing professional development for teachers and education support professionals can help mitigate the risk of suicide among students.
Risk Factors Associated with Suicide
- Stress and anxiety
- Mental illness
- Physical illness
- Abuse, neglect, or trauma
- Substance abuse
What Parents Can Do
In most cases, even when children need help, they tend to retreat within themselves and hide the reasons for their sadness or problems as they feel embarrassed to reveal their feelings to their parents. This is where parents need to take charge of things.
- Talk to your children directly instead of waiting for them to open up.
- You might think that they need space, but this is the time to talk to them and find out about their problems.
- Try to be caring and understanding towards their problems instead of scolding them if they have committed any mistakes or are not doing well in their studies.
- Even if your child is into substance abuse or is experiencing a break-up phase, don’t be mad at them.
- You need to understand that they are probably misguided and are confused and you have to guide them in the right direction.
- Never ignore your child’s threat to end life as a typical childish melodrama. You can take them for counseling so that they can seek proper help and guidance.
The Role of Schools and Teachers in Suicide Prevention
Children in schools are more prone to suicidal tendencies because they don’t have much idea about managing and dealing with suicidal feelings. Teachers may ignore students’ feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, loneliness, and helplessness, and this can aggravate children’s suicidal tendencies. To stop this from happening, here are some of the things teachers can do:
- Teachers should devise techniques to help students deal with stress and anxiety.
- Schools should be aware of any mental and psychological illnesses that a student is facing or if there’s any psychological illness running in the family.
- Teachers also need to build strong relationships with all students so that students have a trusted adult in which to confide.
- Teachers need to be more responsive towards the mental and emotional state of students.
- At schools, teachers also need to be more careful to avert and prevent situations of bullying which affects the weak students emotionally to a greater extent.
Other Factors to Consider
Children at a young age don’t have the capacity to handle stress, depression and emotional distress. Introducing more activities and regular participation from all students where they will work in teams are great ways to keep students engaged and divert their mind from situations that can cause depression and anxiety in them.
The teachers, on seeing students depressed should also try to find out if the students are going through some tough time at home. If children face parental abuse, then they tend to feel neglected and traumatized even at school.
Counseling, for both the teachers and students, is a good way to help the child who is probably unable to find a way out of his/her miseries. Having CCTV cameras at school can help the school authorities to monitor the activities of students and act accordingly.
By adding suicide prevention to the school curriculum, students are better able to handle suicidal thoughts or intentions. Proper guidance and counseling can potentially save the lives of young people who are at higher risk. The combined efforts of parents, teachers, and schools can go a long way in preventing suicide among students and guide them in the right direction.
Ongoing professional development can equip educators with knowledge and skills to address this sensitive issue. When suicide prevention resources and techniques are in place, the risk of suicide among students will decrease. To learn how INcompassing Education can help your school, please visit our contact page.