Reminder for parents: How to determine suicidal risk the child

About the causes of teenage suicide and about when parents need to sound the alarm says Boris polozhy, honored worker of science of the Russian Federation, doctor of medical Sciences, Professor, head of environmental and social problems of mental health Federal medical research centre of psychiatry and addiction.


Professor Boris Polozhy

Currently suicidal situation in Russia remains weak. This is primarily related to suicide among children and adolescents. According to their frequency (per 100 thousand persons in childhood and adolescence), our country is one of the first places in the world. This situation is observed in the last century that was a reflection of the difficulties the country was experiencing during this period. While in General population the frequency of suicides in recent years gradually reduced, among children and adolescents, this decrease is extremely low.

Why is this happening? There are a number of factors.


Childhood, up to five – six years

Start with the parent family. It is in the child laid all the foundations of his physical and mental health, psychological competence. A kind of ridge all of his future qualities. This process ends about five to six years. From then on it is grinding specific personality traits. Therefore, this small segment of human life is of enormous importance for the whole of his future.

Unfortunately, a significant number of households does not think about the problems of education psychological qualities of the child at this age. What he needs most? Not vitamins and not even in breast milk, and literally from the first moments of his birth, he needs a home that nature gave us – love. It should be infused each minute of communication of parents with their child. They should be the first and most important advisers, friends, help, support.

According to our research, in the parent families is dominated by three options of education, which can be called pathological.

One option is the indifference, when parents only pay attention to the fact that the child was fed, clothed, had toys. But don't talk to him, do not specify any problems, he age, only live my life.

Another option is authoritarian: cruelty, even violence, punishments, up to corporal. No matter how it seemed from the side that dominated in Soviet times, the authoritarian system of parenting doesn't go anywhere. It is now the most common parenting style. Parents often focus only on how they were brought up: "I was brought up, and I am a man grown." Modern parents strongly can develop the child, but leave out his attention the main thing – the desire to child to grow harmonious person who understands themselves and knows how to be considerate to others, loves themselves, their families and the world around.

In addition, now encountered such a phenomenon, which I call the "orphan with living parents", when a successful mom and dad think that they care about the child, shifting his upbringing to a nanny, housekeeper. In the end, the child grows in conditions of deficiency of parental love that can not replace no one, even a good babysitter. Moreover, the child unconsciously perceives it as a betrayal, like something left him. This leads to the formation of weak, flawed, unable to resist the life of the individual, potentially ready to commit suicide.


The third option education – "family Idol". In this case, the child is literally praying protect from any difficulties, solve for it all problems. The result is a people confident in its exclusivity, not able to stand up for themselves, to find a way out of a difficult situation. So when he grows up and gets into a normal life with its difficulties, then the first failure seem to him hopeless, and can lead to suicide.

Suicide in childhood and adolescence is a plea for help, which nobody heard. Not casually more than half of all suicides among children and adolescents occurs on the basis of family conflicts family misunderstanding.


Heredity and mental health

Most parents lack the necessary psychological and medical knowledge. For example, the fact that there is a genetic predisposition to suicidal behavior. And if in the family somebody was suicide or attempted suicide, you need to exercise caution. It is in any case does not mean that the child is doomed to repeat relative, however, parents should consult with a specialist who will explain what to look out for, what should be avoided.

According to recent reports, most often commit suicide by both children and adults that have certain mental health disorders. Often parents do not see their manifestations, do not worry. Sometimes more ironic when parents realize that the child is clearly behaving inappropriately once, but indignantly rejected the possibility to consult a pediatric or adolescent psychiatrist.

This is due to the presence of a psychological barrier before contacting the psychiatrist. Unfortunately, many people still found ignorant attitude towards psychiatry, the lack of understanding that timely psychiatric care will cure the child, including, and to prevent the development of his suicidal behavior.

Suicide risk and substance abuse

The risk of suicide in teenagers who consume psychoactive substances (alcohol, drugs, toxic agents), increases dramatically. All of these substances not only cause a state of euphoria and pleasure, but also dramatically reduce criticism of their behaviour. As a result, even a minor conflict can cause the teenager, who is in alcohol or drugs, a completely inappropriate response, leading to impulsive, without any deliberation, action. In particular, and to suicide.

If you have already formed alcohol or drug addiction, the state, when you want another dose of the drug, very heavy. Developing depression, which can also lead to suicidal actions.


Aggression in society and the media

The second important point in the formation of suicidality in children and adolescents is a high potential of aggression in society today. Unfortunately, it is not dominated by such universal Christian values like love, kindness, humanity, tolerance, and aggression. She actively provoked by the mass media and primarily television. Apparently, it will go down in history as "television violence and crime."

Around the clock with screens shooting sounds, pouring streams of blood, elevated to the cult of strength, power, ability to suppress or destroy the enemy. Killing becomes routine, commonplace, and because suicide is also murder, only himself. No one thinks that the demonstration of violence is itself violence against the viewer, and aggression destroys a person.

And if adults can be "turned off" – they are settled people with their ideas that children and adolescents absorb it all, and they have a conscious representation of aggression as normal behaviour.

In addition, the media can directly induce the committing of suicide by children and adolescents. The fact that the media provide information about suicide is absolutely unacceptable methods. We do not encourage to hide relevant information – it's wrong, Yes, we have freedom of the press.

But to apply the information you need to properly. Journalists often seek to give the message about the incident of suicide nature of the sensation, place the material on the first page, give it a "flashy" headline. While relished the details of death, including adolescents peers or their idols; describes the forms and methods of suicide, published an unverified version of its causes, often suicide is given a touch of romance.


Adolescents due to age-related particularities of their psyche, there is a powerful effect of role models. Illiterate submitted information on suicide provokes them to commit suicide, sometimes even a group. No wonder from time to time there are reports that, for example, two or three girls he killed himself. And immediately after is the new information that this happened in other places. This is the induction of suicidal behavior.

Some time ago in Moscow was a sort of epidemic of group suicides among teenagers. When was the first, I gave a comment to a reporter after the conversation, I told her that, given the overwhelming response to the event in the press, fear a repetition of such cases in the coming days. Unfortunately, I was right.

Indeed, not only in Moscow but also in other cities of our country there was a similar tragic cases. Therefore, all who cover suicide in the media, it is necessary to consider the peculiarities of teenage psyche, and to listen to the experts about how and what you can speak and write on this topic. In order not to become guilty of following the suicides.

Another important aspect influencing suicidality in children and adolescents, is their involvement in a totalitarian pseudo-religious sects. Unfortunately, in our country they are not so little, and parents involved there, as a rule, begin to connect and children. Most of these pseudo-religious sects are destructive in nature, up to the orientation to death. When children with their vulnerable psyche include, often ends with suicide.

The Dangers Of The Internet

For teenagers leading source of information, even more so than television, the Internet has become. Social networks in the first place. A big problem that there there is a lot of destructive resources, particularly suicidal, where can I find information on how to escape from life.

It is important that it was made public the decision on blocking, the closure of such resources probably saved many lives. But, unfortunately, the trouble is that it closes, disappear, others reappear.

Here is a real example: a young man and a girl 15 – 16 years met in social networks through the page of suicidal orientation, found some common problems, texted and, in the end, decided it should go. They informed each other in the eye has not seen, lived in different cities, and decided to meet in a place that is between their cities. Agreed, came, met the first day he killed himself.


Psychology learn in school?

The third element influencing the occurrence of suicides of teenagers is the lack of at least a minimum of psychological knowledge, including about yourself. Now at the initiative of our Center reached an agreement with the Ministry of education on the establishment of a psychology course that will be taught in schools starting from the second to the last class. That is all the years of training available for each age level will take courses in psychology, must receive the appropriate textbooks. It's not fast, but very promising.

Results ineffective assistance

It should be noted that the existing in our country the system of assistance to a suicide largely outdated and does not meet the requirements of time and the latest achievements results of science and practice.

The majority of the results of the service (and in some regions none at all) do not have a teenage link, and this is a very special work, special approaches. Often the parents of the child have nowhere to turn to, even if they suspected the suicide risk in their child. So you need to reform the entire system of assistance to a suicide of a mandatory introduction of teenage link.


How to identify suicide risk in the child: a checklist for parents

The main symptom of suicidal risk is that the child (teenager) without any reasons for changed behavior (as your mom, "seemed to have changed", "was quite different").

Main changes the following behavior:

Is self – isolation, decrease in daily activity. If the child with the parents to discuss something, make a joke, but now it is becoming more and more withdrawn, answering in monosyllables, often secluded. Falling grades in school, truancy appear for no apparent reason.

– Changing eating habits with a tendency to neglect their appearance and poor personal hygiene. Cease to wash, brush teeth, loses interest in his clothes, how he looks like.

– The appearance of unusual earlier reactions in the form of leaving home and aimless vagrancy.

– Dominant themes for reading, conversation and creativity the themes of death and suicide. This can be seen by the books he reads, the preference in listening to sad and mourning music. Begins to attend the sites, groups in social networks, where it talks about death and suicide. It is possible to detect, if you look at the pages on the Internet or social networks that it sees.

– The use of psychoactive substances. The teenager, who in life used alcohol or drugs begins to come home intoxicated.

In addition there are so-called linguistic indicators of suicide risk. These include:

  • direct statements and clauses or incomplete thoughts, reflecting suicidal tendencies;
  • attenuation or loss from the lexicon of words describing happy experiences, or views;
  • specific changes in speech: the apparent slowness of its pace, filling in speech pauses, deep sighs, monotony of intonations.

The appearance of such features should alert parents. The first thing to do in this case is to find an opportunity to speak frankly with the child, what bothers him, what is the reason, how to help him. This conversation will have an effect if there is at least a small degree of trust in the relationship with their parents. And it creates, as I said, in early childhood.

If a teenager that confidence has disappeared and relationships have a formal character, the child is unlikely to disclose their experiences. In this case you need to see a specialist, qualified psychologist dealing specifically with children and teenagers.

I would just not advised to look for a psychologist (therapist) at ad: we have plenty of unskilled people and even charlatans who labored under this brand. Do not be afraid of treatment to children and adolescent psychiatrist in an ordinary mental hospital, where you do not need any directions.

For a start there you can come to mom or dad without a child to talk, to confer, and jointly decide how to proceed. Finally, there are anonymous hotlines where you can call any parent and teenager. It is therefore important that children and teenagers have this number, and when to call him.


In any case, one can assume that if the child tells about their own suicide, it's blackmail, with which he wants to achieve something. Unfortunately, this view is very common among parents. Teenagers need to behave flexibly, and not "breaking through the knee".

Can lead to a tragic incident that occurred a few years ago. Mom is a very purposeful, correct, but rigid and authoritarian, had a strained relationship with teenage daughter 15 years old. Another conflict arose when the girl had to go somewhere, and mom's not allowed. Word for word, emotions ran high.

The girl said that if her mother will not be allowed, she is out of the window (and they were high). Mother, believing that this is blackmail and she will not allow themselves to be manipulated, walked over to the window and opened it and said, "Well, jump." She was sure that just "knock the shit". The girl walked over to the window and... jumped. In fact, she provoked committing suicide which is, maybe, the girl would not come...

If there is any suspicion about the risk of suicide, to any words the child or young person relating to this, you need to treat carefully as possible. It is better to err in trying to preserve life, rather than Vice versa.published

Author: Boris Polozhy, Oksana Golovko


See also:

Julia simultaneously: is it always necessary to get compliance

Emotional disabilities — victims family education


P. S. And remember, only by changing their consumption — together we change the world! ©

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