Suicidality & Self-harm in Children

Suicidality in Children

Tragically, children of all ages have been shown to exhibit suicidal ideation and behaviors. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youth ages 10-14. Although not direct indicators of risk, warning signs in children can include: making suicidal statements, preoccupation with death or dying, giving away belongings, withdrawal from friends or family, or aggressive or hostile behavior.

Self-harm in Children

Sadly, children of all ages may engage in self-injury; the fastest growing sector is “tweens” ages 9-14, likely due in part to the influence of social media. Although it is most often devastating and terrifying for parents to discover their child is intentionally hurting herself, it is important to remember that in the vast majority of cases the behavior is not related to a suicide attempt.

If parents discover a child is self-injuring, it is important to seek a professional evaluation. While some children may “experiment” with self-injury due to peer pressure, other children use self-injury to cope with deeply painful emotions, or to communicate needs they have not learned to express in other ways.