Suicide remains a leading cause of death among teens around the world.  Most of the time, teenagers who end up killing themselves don’t talk with the people in their lives about what they’re going through.  Because of this, nobody realizes what they was going on in their minds, and what they were going through, until it’s much too late.  Therefore, the question arises: what can parents do to make a difference in the life of their suicidal children?  According to experts, the best way to do this is through open conversations, starting within families.  An amazingly simple answer, to be sure, but one that’s nonetheless essential, and often-times easier said than done.  

According to one psychiatrist, Dr. Tyler Black of the B.C. Children’s Hospital, the best way to start out the process of open communication is through a simple question: a genuine, heartfelt, “how are you doing?”.  No matter what your child’s answer, he says you should always ask your children if there’s anything that you can do to make things better, and make sure they know that you mean that.  Such a response creates the start of a support system, telling your children that somebody is there fore them.  No matter what your child says, listen without any judgement.  You always want to create a sense of belonging, support, and acceptance among your children, regardless of the situation.  Part of the struggle for many parents is how difficult it can be to spot somebody who is going through suicidal thoughts.  While many times it’s clear that a child is suffering, but the degree of that suffering is often unknown until it’s much too late.  

Indeed, one of the most common myths about suicide is that it’s predictable, and that warning signs are easy to spot.  However, the truth is a lot different.  Often-times, many of the signs of suicide a lot more subtle, and are surprisingly easy to overlook completely.  Many parents are concerned about bringing up the topic of suicide with their children.  Not only is it a difficult conversation to have, but many parents fear putting ideas in the heads of their children and making the situation worse.  Nonetheless, open communication is the key to preventing suicide among children.  Suicide isn’t a new word or concept to most children.  Start asking your children questions, and make it clear that no matter their response, there is always a support system.