Child Suicide: Statistics & Prevention

Instructor: Gaines Arnold
This lesson discusses child suicide and what the research has said about it. The lesson looks at the fact that child suicide statistics have been hard to compile and also looks at how parents and caregivers can help prevent child suicide.

An Accident or a Suicide Attempt

Kelly was a single mother who worked long hours and tried to make sure that her son, Ely, was taken care of by either her mother or a trusted family friend. Ely had turned eight about a month ago, and he seemed to be happy and looking forward to a trip with his scout troop. Like most children his age, he would have moments when he appeared depressed or in some other way moody, but he got out of his bad mood pretty quickly. Then Ely was found hanging by a hook in the bathroom, and he was unresponsive. Luckily, his grandmother found him quickly and was able to get him to the hospital. He recovered, but when he returned home after the accident, he seemed to have more days where he showed little interest in life.

Kelly started to question whether the incident was actually an accident, or if Ely had actually tried to commit suicide. First she talked to her pastor, but he said he didn't know of any cases of child suicide. Then she asked Ely's pediatrician and found that, although it was rare, sometimes young children do commit suicide.

The Reality of Child Suicide

Suicide is a problem no matter what the age group, but with children, it is difficult to attach any numbers. The main reason for this is that people don't believe that children under ten have the capacity to commit suicide, so suspicious deaths are listed as accidental. Though children have serious issues, most have believed that they will not commit suicide because these issues are generally fleeting.

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