Friday, June 13, 2008

11 year old dies by suicide

An 11-year-old girl took her own life last weekend and her mom is on a mission to help other parents see the signs. It is hard to imagine someone so young even knowing how to do it. It just seems so unlikely. Isn't that only a sixth grader? Wow, it is hard to imagine.

Christina Woods said she found out after her daughter's death that Bethany had a Myspace page where she actually talked about taking her life. And some of Bethany's friends said she had mentioned it to them. Christina said she never would have imagined, "Almost all the pictures I could find of her she was smiling and laughing and dancing. She just never mentioned having anything in her life so bad she would do this."

Here are the warning signs of suicide from Suicide Prevention:

  • Talking About Dying -- any mention of dying, disappearing, jumping, shooting oneself, or other types of self harm.
  • Recent Loss -- through death, divorce, separation, broken relationship, loss of job, money, status, self-confidence, self-esteem, loss of religious faith, loss of interest in friends, sex, hobbies, activities previously enjoyed
  • Change in Personality -- sad, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, tired, indecisive, apathetic
  • Change in Behavior -- can't concentrate on school, work, routine tasks
  • Change in Sleep Patterns -- insomnia, often with early waking or oversleeping, nightmares
  • Change in Eating Habits -- loss of appetite and weight, or overeating
  • Diminished Sexual Interest -- impotence, menstrual abnormalities (often missed periods)
  • Fear of losing control -- going crazy, harming self or others
  • Low self esteem -- feeling worthless, shame, overwhelming guilt, self-hatred, "everyone would be better off without me"
  • No hope for the future -- believing things will never get better; that nothing will ever change

The reason you don't hear a lot about suicide on the news is because we typically don't report when it happens. Psychologists believe reporting suicides will lead to more people taking their own lives. There is research that shows many suicidal people would feed off the media attention.

Child Psychologist John Day says when it comes kids dying by suicide, many of them don't think through the consequences because that part of their brain hasn't developed yet. Dr. Day said, "It's almost like (the child is thinking) everybody will be sorry and kind of the background thinking is then I'll get what I want. But you're not going to be around to get what you want. You don't understand that part of the action."

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Another thing I wanted to mention, The reporter on this story, Laura Michels, was telling me how she learned that it is offensive to say "committed suicide." She said she was told it is more appropriate to say "died of suicide." It is interesting how sayings just become mainstream and most of us don't even realize they're offensive.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Anonymous said...

How does this mother not know her child has a "myspace" page? Who is monitoring her???? She is 11. When I looked her up on myspace, two came up. I'm guessing a third one is out there with a different name or possible a nickname. Unfortunately many parents are letting the computer "babysit" their kids. The myspace/computer world is making these children lose touch with reality. This mother should not only be advocating for suicide prevention, she should be advocating for parents to pay attention to their children. This specifically applies to internet and cell phone usage. I know of an 11 year old on myspace who openly confesses her love for a classmate. She is only 11!!!!! Of course, you have to be 14 to have a myspace page, but that is easily worked around. As a matter of fact, Bethany's pages lists her as 14. If there is any message in Bethany's death it is this:::: MONITOR YOUR CHILDREN'S COMPUTER ACTIVITY. DO NOT LET THEM PARTICIPATE ON MYSPACE UNTIL THEY ARE 14 (AS THE RULES STATE).

Signed: A Nurse that Watched Her Die.

Jennifer said...

I think anonymous is being a little harsh.

The situation is so sad. Eleven is so young, and while the list of warning signs is interesting, and good to keep in mind, it's also fairly vague (similar to the list of ADHD characteristics), with many of the signs being similar to normal teen/pre-teen behaviours. said...

I agree. The warning signs are vague. It seems like that's the case with a lot of illnesses. Being a health reporter and looking at all the diseases, my husband tends to call me a hypochrondriac! I think a lot of people fit into some of these symptoms. I guess behavior "out of the ordinary" is out best clue.

Anonymous said...

Don't side with the mother on this one. Did you know that there was a collection taken up at local banks for Bethany? Did you also know that her mother has been removing money from these donation accounts to purchase drugs and alcohol? There much more going on then what is being put in the news...not to mention the years of abuse the poor girl went through.

Bethany's mom said...

This is Bethany's mother and I would like to clear the air on a few of the comments that were made here and other places on the internet. First of all me and my children DO NOT even have a computer! She was accessing her accounts online at friends houses when I wasn't aware. As far as ALL the "donations" that were collected. There wasn't near what everyone is assuming. There was a plot donated but I didn't even accept it because it was only one plot at a cemetary that doesn't allow a monument on a single plot so I would have had to buy another one so I went to another cemetary and ordered one plot that would allow a monument placed on it. The schools and banks DID NOT take up collections. If they did it sure didn't benefit her or the expenses inccured with the funeral. For people to say such rude and hateful things in the wake of such tragedy is reprehensible. You are the kind of people that drive someone to commit such an act and should be truly sorry for yourselves. I love and miss my daughter dearly and this is the first comment I have made to ANY of the internet inaccuracies and I have just had enough. Where are peoples compassion at times like this? This is truly a crazy world and the ONLY consolation I can get out of any of this right now is that she is in a much much better place now and I can't wait to see her again on the other side. God bless you all. Christina Wood said...

Thank you for responding Christina.I am so sorry for your loss. Jen

BethanysDad said...

Jen, don't judge "anonymous" too harshly. This person knows what they're talking about.

Christina, it's predictable you'd comment here. Not enough people who know you would come to this site. But the truth is being told, and will continue to be told. Things are coming out, Christina.

To the rest of daughter wasn't ADHD, or mentally ill, or even sad about being grounded. She wanted the hell out of here. Her mother has kept my kids from me, thereby blocking an escape from her wanton and irresponsible lifestyle. So Bethany took the only way out she could find. I could have saved her, and I'm completely shattered that she did what she did...but I understand.

It's easy for those on the sidelines to surmise what coulda/woulda/shoulda happened. But for those of us who know differently, coulda/woulda/shoulda is something I'll carry with me for the rest of my life.

BethanysDad said...

And Christina, you won't be able to hide where the proceeds have gone for too much longer. I know for a fact how much has been donated just from people here in Ohio who didn't even know Bethany.

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