Suicide Warning Signs & How to Get Your Child the Help He Needs

The tragic trend of young kids committing suicide because they despair at being bullied does not seem ready to end anytime soon. The latest is a 12-year-old New York City boy who hanged himself after relentless bullying by the neighborhood kids who teased him for being a "nerd" and a "good student," and, most ruthlessly, for not having a father. The boy's father had died when he was just 4 months old. And what the boy, Joel Morales, didn't know, according to his heartbroken mother, is that his father had also committed suicide.

Joel's half-brother, 25-year-old Richard Salazar, says that his mother is devastated to be dealing with another suicide. "She’s going through the same thing she went through then. The same thing," he said.

Is this some kind of bizarre coincidence? Maybe not. Science has discovered a specific gene linked to suicide. People with a certain variation of a gene have a higher risk of suicide. But little Joel had other risk factors, including:

- Problems at school

- Having lost a loved one

- Social isolation

- Had expressed being depressed

Experts say that kids who are talking about harming themselves should be taken seriously. Some other classic warning signs include not seeming to care about anything, not participating in activities once enjoyed, and giving away personal possessions.

For parents to see this kind of behavior in their young children must be terrifying. Some things that suicide experts suggest doing if you see signs of suicidal behavior include asking the direct question, "Are you thinking of suicide?" If the answer is "Yes," you need to stay calm and try to get more details. Listening, and not judging, is very important.

Then, it's ultra important to get your child professional help, with a counselor, therapist, or at a suicide crisis center. A national suicide crisis number is 1-800-273-TALK.

Has your child ever expressed a desire to hurt him or herself?


Image via Tjook/Flickr

behavior, bullies, tough topics


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butte... butterflyfreak

That poor mother! You know she has to be asking herself if there was anything she could have done differently to get her son the help he needed. I just hope that she doesn't let the guilt, because you know that's what she's feeling, doesn't bring her down. I wonder if she knew that there is a genetic link that could have put her son at a higher risk.

The biggest thing parents need to do is take their kid seriously, even if s/he is a "drama queen."

LISTEN to your kids, people. That's the best way to prevent suicides because there is almost always a cry for help preceding the act, but too many of us have our ears closed and don't hear it. Or we hear it and dismiss it as "typical teenage foolishness."

paren... parentalrights1

And people need to stop picking at the kids for being "too weak" and committing suicide. You're not helping anyone and I don't care if you experienced bullying also, you still don't know what that kid is going through.

Quinn Smith

Many of our children nowadays are being bullied at streets, at school, even at home. We really have to protect them from such depressions that they don't deserve at their very young age. I love my kids and I will do anything and everything just to give the best for them especially my protection. Their safety, is on top of my priority. Speaking of child's safety, I am on a safety service with my whole family. I protect them with this personal safety device called safekidzone. In a press of the panic button, you know where they at and what's happening. It can also send some help directly to 911 when there's a real time emergency. you may check them here: We can't be always with our kids but with safekidzone, you know when they're in trouble and you will be able to help them.

Nj Eirojnkcin

The sad part is (aside from the entire thing) this kid probably didn't really want to die. Most people do not want to die and do it as a cry for help but don't get found til it's too late. Unfortunately teens would rather now confide in their parents and they internalize everything so I'm sure that this was in no way the mom not noticing a problem. A lot of suicides put on a facade of happiness.

Barbara Ann Taylor

Need a bully stopped? Send me their name.. If they think they are all that, I will make them feel lower than a snail's ass! I hate bullies and nothing they say can get to me. LET ME HAVE A SHOT AT THEM. THEY WILL NEVER BULLY AGAIN!!

cew816 cew816

My heart goes out to this kid, and his family.  I was bullied a lot in school.  I came from a perfect town, where everyone had money, and nice clothes, and was perfectly pretty.  My parents struggled financially, and I always struggled with my weight.  Kids would call me a monster, and I was sexually assulted by 3 different boys on more than one occasion, and while they were doing it, they would tell me that I should be happy that someone is giving me attention, because no one wanted to.  They told me I would never be married, or have kids because no one would want me.  Although I had suicidal thoughts, I would have never gone through with them, because I was afraid to die. 

Yes, it is very, very important to watch out for the warning signs that your kids might be having those thoughts.  But it is just as important to teach your kids to respect themselves and others, and to educate them on the effects that bullying has.  Kids can be very mean.  It is important that you set a good example for them, and to watch out for signs that they may be a bully.

cew816 cew816

I am extra sensitive to kids being mean to my daughter, and she is only 2. But I wont stand for her not standing up for herself when a kid makes her feel bad. One day I walked in to pick her up from daycare. She saw me with the happiest look on her face with a bracelet in her hand that they made. She was so happy to show it to me, when another little girl went up and snatched it right out of her hand. She didnt take it back, or fight for it, or even cry. She just looked at me like she was really sad, but that is what she deserved. Needless to say, I got onto the little girl myself, and told the teacher, and had a long talk with my daughter about it NOT being ok for someone to be mean to her.

nonmember avatar georgie

My middle grandson would often say he didn't want to live anymore in various ways. He was in second grade and his parents blew it off. The best I could do was have him talk to a school counselor. I live away from him now but I am still fearful. This year he decided not to smile anymore and he has a beautiful smile. Since severe depression runs in my family ( a recent finding thru a family medical history inquiry), I fear for his life and his parents still feel nothing is wrong. I used to be his child care provider and had spent a lot of time with him. He still gets upset easily, hides, crying and curled up into a ball. All I can do is pray for him.

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