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- Change in Personality -- sad, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, tired, indecisive, apathetic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.
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