Suicidal tendencies in kids: What are they and how can you help?

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Think kids are too young or innocent to commit suicide? Think again! Here's a list of suicidal tendencies that Filipino parents ought to look out for.

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Gone too soon…

In 2013, 12-year-old Filipino-American, Gabrielle Molina of New York City hanged herself in her room after being cyberbullied by her classmates. The police secured Molina’s two computers containing information about the alleged cyberbullying which started after classmates uploaded a video on YouTube where Molina was shown being beaten up by a “former friend”.

Described as a bright student, it was reported that Molina experienced “relentless online bullying, was branded a slut and [was] told she looked like she had Downs Syndrome.”

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Suicidal tendencies in kids: What are they and how can you help?

While we may not hear many news reports about children committing suicide in the Philippines, it isn’t indicative of it not ever happening. Dr. Glenda Basubus, chairperson of the Philippine Mental Health Association Cebu Chapter, said that “children are capable of [committing] suicide because of exposure to certain news, culture and depression… Less social interaction can also lead to depression.”

So, what are the signs of suicide? Although symptoms of suicidal tendencies may vary in children, we’ve come across a list of red flags courtesy of save.org that you should look out for.

Click “Continue Reading” for signs that your child is depressed or suicidal.
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Verbal cues

Keep a close eye on your child if you start hearing one or several of the following

  • “I shouldn’t be here.”
  • “I’m going to run away.”
  • “I wish I were dead.”
  • “I’m going to kill myself.”
  • “I wish I could disappear forever.”
  • “If a person did this or that… would he/she die?”
  • “The voices tell me to kill myself.”
  • “Maybe if I died, people would love me more.”
  • “I want to see what it feels like to die.”
  • “My parent’s won’t even miss me.”
  • “My boy/girlfriend won’t care anyway.”

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Behavioral Clues

Doing things like:

  • Talking or joking about suicide.
  • Giving away prized possessions.
  • Preoccupation with death/violence; TV, movies, drawings, books, at play, music.
  • High risk behavior such as jumping from high places, running into traffic, self-injurious behaviors (cutting, burning).
  • Having several accidents resulting in injury; “close calls” or “brushes with death.”
  • Obsession with guns and knives.
  • Previous suicidal thoughts or attempts.

Click Continue Reading to see if you have a “High-risk child”. 


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High risk children

  • Are preoccupied with death, and don’t understand it is permanent.
  • Believe a person goes to a better place after dying or can come alive after dying.
  • Are impulsive (act without realizing the consequences of their actions).
  • Have no or little sense of fear or danger.
  • Tend to have perfectionist tendencies.
  • Truly feel that it would be better for everyone else if they were dead.
  • Believe that if they could join a loved one who died, they would then be rid of their pain and be at peace.
  • Have parents or relatives who have attempted suicide (modeling behaviors/genetic factors can be involved here).
  • Are hopeless; feeling that things will never get better, that they will never feel better.

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If you think a child may be suicidal…

Ask questions about suicide like, “Do you ever…

  • …have thoughts of hurting yourself?”
  • …feel so badly that you have thoughts of dying?”
  • …wish you could runaway or disappear?”
  • …wish you could go to sleep and not wake up?”
  • …have scary dreams about dying?”

Click “Continue reading” for ways you can help your child. 


How to Help

  • Educate yourself on childhood & adolescent depressive illnesses and suicide.
  • Assure your child they can feel better, that suicidal thoughts are only temporary, and that there are people who can help them.
  • Always take suicidal tendencies seriously and respond immediately.
  • Know that early intervention is the key to successful treatment for children who suffer from depressive illnesses.
  • Understand that treatment should be a team-approach including a psychotherapist, a child/adolescent psychiatrist, parents, relatives, caregivers, school personnel, friends, babysitters, neighbors and other significant people in the child’s life.
  • For free and confidential telephone counseling call Crisis Line Philippines at 893-7606 or 893-7603 (Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.). Crisis Line deals with a wide range of issues – marital problems, family & other relationship issues, growing up, growing old, identity & mid-life crisis, stress related to work & other situations, alcohol & substance abuse, financial problems, health & well-being, natural calamities, crime, suicide, depression & related problems.

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