Suicide Signs: Tips for Stopping Childhood Suicide

Dealing with tragedy can be hard for anyone, especially children and teenagers.

That's why it's important for adults to help them through troubling times.

If you're a parent you might wonder: how do you know if your child is thinking about suicide?

It's the 3rd leading cause of death for young people in the United States, but folks over at the Siouxland Mental Health Center say there are signs to watch out for.

Nearly every day over the past 12 years at the Siouxland Mental Health Center Wade Kuehl has helped people who are contemplating suicide, including children and teens.

"Families have to realize that this is another health problem, just like you wouldn't ignore a broken bone in your child's arm, you know, you don't want to ignore emotional and mental health problems that your child's having either," said Kuehl, Clinical Director at the Siouxland Mental Health Center.

When it comes to suicide, he says it's up to parents to look for the signs.

If your child is making suicidal statements, withdrawing from friends and family, having mood changes, or has been running away from home, there may be a problem.

But as important as it is to identify these signs and talk with your child, it's even more important to really listen to what your child has to say and take their message seriously.

"It's not enough to just say 'I hear you, boy that's too bad,' you have to help children engage in problem solving and help them find solutions to their problems, or again, they're stuck in a helpless, hopeless mode," said Kuehl.

Experts like Wade stress: no family is immune to emotional and mental health problems.

There's nothing wrong with getting professional help, and in many cases, it might be a life saving intervention.

"We'll help you figure out what you need to do," said Kuehl. "You don't need to have it all figured out, that's our job, we'll help you figure out what the next steps are."

If you believe your child might be thinking about suicide, it's easy to get local help.

You can stop by the Siouxland Mental Health Center at 625 Court Street in Sioux City.

For more information about the center, visit its web site here:

If you can't make it there, you can always call for help.

The Siouxland Mental Health Center's Crisis Line is: (712) 252-3871

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at: 1-800-273-TALK