No mother wants to ever have to fathom her child committing suicide, but when that child is a mere baby, it dwells in the realm of horrifically, mind-bogglingly tragic. A 7-year-old boy in Detroit was found hanging by a belt from a bunkbed in the home he shared with his mother and sisters. Doubly tragic, it was his 14-year-old sister who discovered him. Police say that the boy had previously expressed a desire to harm himself, and had been depressed about being bullied at school, his parents' recent separation, and being the only boy in a large family of sisters. Police do not suspect any foul play.
Ironically, his mother was trying to help him, and had last seen him alive when she went to go visit their pastor to discuss his depression.
It's unfathomable that a child so young would understand suicide. I can't imagine how a 7-year-old would even know how to hang himself. And yet it happens. Of the almost 37,000 suicides in 2009, 265 were of children ages 5 to 14. Psychologists say that signs of depression in children, or threats to harm themselves, should be taken seriously.
In recent years, it has become more obvious that children, just like adults, can sink into deep depressions. That, in fact, they can be born with a prediliction to depression. Mothers tend to feel guilty no matter what happens with their children, so I can only imagine the agonizing guilt this mother, and the father, may feel over their son's suicide. And yet, it is quite possible that this is a child who may have come to an end at his own hands at some point no matter what, because he was overwhelmingly prone to it.
Bullying at school has resulted in many suicides, even of very young children. As for the parents' separation, I have no idea how they handled it, but many children are able to come through a divorce or separation fine. But it may have been the combination of the multiple upheavals in his life that drove this fragile little boy to the brink.
What can we do to stop children from killing themselves?
Image via InExtremiss/ Flickr