Suicide Awareness and Prevention


How can my child have a happy and successful school year in light of a 9-year-old committing suicide?

In light of recent events with the death of 9-year-old Jamel Myles it had me thinking more and more about the importance we have as adults and caregivers in paving the way for our children.

As a therapist with 20 years of experience, working primarily with children, adolescents and families I have seen and heard many stories. As a mom of two girls, ages 12 and 16 I have experienced a lot as well.

Research has shown that the number of attempted suicides and hospitalizations for children and teens has more than doubled between 2008 and 2015. There has also been a rise in completed suicides in children. Therefore, it’s not just a “teen” issue.

So, what can you do? It is extremely important to pay attention to warning signs. Some include:

  • Withdrawn behaviors
  • Loss of interest in previous hobbies
  • Isolation
  • Agitation

You might be thinking that many teens behave this way. While this may be true generally younger kids do not exhibit these behaviors unless some issue is impacting them.
Teens may behave this way to some degree. However, with teens it’s more like a Jekyl and Hyde effect. They can be very moody but if they are displaying the above warning signs consistently pay attention.

Spend time with your kids.

Be a role model for them. I have had many parents/caregivers not realize the words or terms they used that later come back to bite them. For example, a child may come out as gay, bisexual or non-binary. Unbeknownst to you, your family has made some “colorful” remarks which you thought were harmless. However, by doing so your child fears being their most authentic self in fear of judgment. We hope by posting this it will help you to stop and be in the “now” with your family.

If you suspect any concerns, please feel free to reach out to Exceptional Wellness Counseling so we can help you through this challenging time.