The entire team of Moner Alo, the leading psychiatrist’s clinic of Kolkata, is gutted at the news of a teenage girl taking her own life in the school premises. The gut-wrenching accounts of the girl’s death have filled newspapers for a couple of days now. Parents of every teenager are concerned and worried. They are asking at the heart of this sad tale: how can parents detect that their child is suicidal? Surely, suicidal tendencies don’t develop overnight! So there must be some sort of precaution that parents can take to prevent their teenage children from walking down this tragic path?
The answer is yes, parents have a role to play in detecting suicidal tendencies among children. Teenagers who feel suicidal or give up every hope of living their life usually express changes in their behavior. Extroverted teenagers may become withdrawn or vice versa. Loss of appetite or a sudden spike in it is an indicator. Such teenagers excuse themselves from social interactions, drawing themselves into a shell. They rarely go out of their rooms, let alone leave the house. Some even read books on suicide or browse the internet for ideas of suicide.
Other than instantaneous decisions to kill themselves, teenagers can spend quite some time brooding over the idea of suicide. They can give away their actual feelings through words like “When I’m not around anymore” or “You will know soon, when I’m not there to explain”. These are clear indicators that the teenager is thinking some drastic. Major events in life, like poor marks, failed relationships or being the victim of discrimination or even bullying can be triggers. As a parent, you will not know about these events shaping and affecting your teenager’s life unless you maintain channels of communication with them.
Most parents these days have busy and hectic professional lives. They are unable to provide the time and effort required to bond with their children. Because there is no channel of communication, during moments of emotional duress, teenagers are unable to approach their parents for help. Their pent-up their feelings and it leads to depression and eventually suicidal tendencies.