September honors lives lost by suicide, those struggling with suicidal thoughts, and communities impacted by suicide.
Suicidal Ideation or “Flipped Lid”?
Young children often make concerning comments when upset such as “I hate my life,” or “I wish I could just disappear”. This is because their under-developed brain cannot access logic during emotionally charged moments. It can be difficult for caregivers to know how to react.
When children cannot access their logic brain, we call this a “flipped lid”:
Assess if the child is able to access their logical brain in the moment
Respond to the feeling: “You are really upset right now”
Stay calm, and invite the child into your calm
When the feeling subsides, assess for safety
“You felt really upset earlier and said you wanted to hurt yourself. This made me worried, because I love you and want you to be safe. I wonder if you are feeling safe now.”
WARNING SIGNS OF SUICIDAL IDEATION WHICH MAY SIGNAL A NEED FOR HELP:
Verbal suicide threats such as “You’d be better off without me” or “Maybe I won’t be around”
Expressions of hopelessness, helplessness
Previous suicide attempts
Daring or risk-taking behavior
Giving away prized possessions
Lack of interest in future plans
If you are concerned for your child’s safety:
Bring them to the closest hospital
Call/text 988 – National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
Need more support? Schedule a free consultation