One of the most important factors in preventing self-harm and suicide is to recognize the warning signs. Here’s a short list of some common warning signs that your child’s mental health may be suffering:
- Avoiding social engagements they once enjoyed.
- A recent increase in drug or alcohol use.
- Mood swings that may include anger, sadness, or withdrawal.
- A recent lack of motivation or energy.
- Having thoughts of suicide, hopelessness, or like there’s no point to life.
While these common warning signs can be an indicator, it’s also vital to recognize warning signs that are unique to the individual. Ask your child, “How do you know when you’re struggling? What thoughts, sensations, or behaviors do you notice?” For example, they might reveal that when they’re struggling, they tend to feel tightness in their chest, isolate themselves in their room more often, and have negative thoughts about themselves or others. The more aware students are of their own warning signs, the more equipped they will be to reach out for help when they notice them.
And, even if there are no specific warning signs, it’s still important to start the conversation