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Suicide - choosing to die

suicide; depression; stress; grief; loss; mental; health;


What is suicide?

Suicide is when a person decides they want to die, and makes it happen.

Why does it happen?

The stresses of life and mental illness are the main problems that can lead people to die by suicide.

feeling depressedThe stresses of life can lead to depression. Depression is an illness which can often be treated. See our topic on Depression if you would like to know more.

There are many reasons for people deciding to die, and each person is different. The sad thing is that sometimes family and friends never know what caused their loved one to think that life was so hopeless that it was better to be dead.

People can battle through all sorts of bad things happening in their lives if they remember that life is full of changes. Bad things, like good things, don't last forever. We can hope that things will get better soon.

Stresses faced by young people

There are a lot of pressures on young people as well as on older people. These can create a lot of stress.

Maybe a young person is stressed because :

* they are being bullied at school, on the internet or on their mobile phone or on other social media
* they are struggling with schoolwork
* they don't have friends and find it hard to make friends
* there is trouble in the family and they feel unhappy or unsafe at home
* they feel isolated or lonely and don't know who to talk to about their feelings.
feeling isolated and lonely
* they have been, or are being, abused
* there has been some trauma in their lives
* they have had something happen to them that has changed their life, like a really bad accident or illness, and they cannot accept this change
* they are looking for a job, or have lost a job


 their parents split up.

There are many other stresses in life. Usually we can deal with stress and move on to the next challenge, but sometimes we can lose our resilience (ree-zil-i-ens) - that means the way we can bounce back from the bad stuff - and then we become depressed.

Depression is an illness

Depression is an illness where chemical changes in the brain can affect our ability to think clearly or adapt to change.

  • We lose hope that things can get better.
  • We forget that life is always changing.
  • We forget that there are always choices.
  • We forget that what seems like a huge problem today can be made a whole lot smaller if we can talk about it and think about dealing with it one small step at a time.
  • We forget to talk about our feekings with other people who care about us.

What are the warning signs?

If someone is thinking about suicide, then they may be:

  • talking or writing about suicide, or even saying things that hint at suicide, eg. "I wish I was dead", "I'd be better off dead", or "No-one cares".
  • collecting together things which could help them commit suicide
  • acting in a reckless way to put themselves into danger
  • using drugsnot caring about how they look or what they wear
  • not getting up and not going anywhere
  • being angry all the time
  • not eating, not sleeping
  • using alcohol or drugs
  • giving away their stuff or making a will
  • crying and not saying why
  • not being interested in making plans
  • not doing things they used to enjoy
  • feeling out of control
  • keeping themselves to themselves
  • feeling hopeless and powerless.

What can you do?

Being a kid can be really hard at times, and if you are worried about someone you care for, you may think, "Well, what can I do about it?"

Three things you can do are:

* Talk to the person you are worried about and ask them what is wrong and if you can help.
* Talk to trusted adults about your worries.
* Ring a Kids Help Line if you are worried. In Australia the number is 1800 55 1800. You can ring 24hrs/7days a week and there is always someone there to help you.

Check out this site if you are worried about yourself or someone you know.

When someone you love has died by suicide

Many kids know someone who has attempted suicide, or they have lost people they love in this way. Some of these people are young.

They may be going through a whole range of feelings like:

* shock and anger feeling sad, grieving
* not believing it is true
* feeling that person is still around
* feeling guilty and as if there may have been something they did or didn't do
* feeling angry that the person left them, and didn't care about how they might feel
* feeling afraid that others they love may choose to attempt suicide or leave in some way
* feeling sad that they didn't get to say goodbye
* wanting to blame someone
* feeling grief that it happened
* wanting to know why.

Looking after yourself

depressionYou will need to look after yourself by talking about your feelings with trusted adults.

There are trained adults who can help you too, your school counsellor or Chaplain, your favourite teacher and your doctor. They can tell the people who care about you of other trained people who can help you and the rest of your family through this very sad time.

Our topic Grieving may help you to understand your feelings.



Dr Kate says:

Dr KateLosing someone you love is something that happens to everyone - we all get older and we all die sometime.

Losing someone suddenly and unexpectedly is very hard to bear, and losing someone to suicide leaves lots of questions unanswered.

When that person is young, it is even sadder because they are gone from your life when you had expected them to be around to share it with you.

"My big brother's friend jumped off a building. No one knows why he did it. His parents, my brother and all the other people who knew him feel very sad and they wonder if they could have done anything to help him."

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      We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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