It can be difficult for a young person to tell you they are feeling suicidal. There is a lot on the internet about suicide of which some is conflicting and confusing. The main thing is to accept where the young person is at and validate how difficult is must be for them. Talking about suicide does not increase the likely hood it will happen. There is not a lot of research on care-experienced youth in terms of suicide but it is widely believed that young people in care are at an increased risk of hurting themselves because of adverse backgrounds and continuing stress.
The key indicators identified in research shows that early childhood negative experiences and young people self-harming i.e. cutting, burning, are more at risk of suicide.
It is important for caregivers to take self-harm and threats of suicide seriously and involve professionals, as assessment is essential. Carers of these young people should not be dealing with this alone. Responding to suicidal or self-harming young people is the responsibility of several agencies. When reporting these behaviours to agencies remember to record, what agency you have reported to and the name of the person recording your concern. The young person’s social worker needs to be contacted even if you only suspect there is a risk. The social worker will help determine the next steps, maybe a referral to Child and Adolescent Mental Health services.
Good site’s on web:
Ministry of Health, Suicide
Understanding suicide and self-harm amongst children in care and care leavers, Judy Furnivall.
Youthline www.youthline.co.nz 0800 376633 Free Text 234
Whats Up www.whatsup.co.nz 0800 9428787
The Lowdown www.thelowdown.co.nz Free text 5626
SPARX www.sparx.org.nz an online self-help tool that teaches young people the key skills needed to help combat depression and anxiety.
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