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Suicide: what if the warnings signs aren't there?

Suicide: what if the warnings signs aren't there?

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Suicide: what if the warnings signs aren't there?

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I'm devastated to hear about the suicide of Stuart Kelly. Stuart was the the younger brother of Thomas Kelly who died 4 years ago after a coward-punch attack in Kings Cross. The Kelly family, including Stuart, became tireless anti-violence campaigners following The death of Thomas. In this article, there is a deeply-moving video of Stuart talking a few months ago about Thomas's death and the effects that it had.

 

My son asked me why I was so quiet at dinner. I tried to explain the story of the Kellys but couldn't stop crying. I was crying for Stuart and whatever anguish he was suffering which made him take his own life. I was crying for his parents who, for the second time, had to arrange a funeral for a teenage son. I imagined the horror and self-doubt they must be feeling (why didn't we notice something was wrong?) And I was crying because my son has depression and anxiety and I am so afraid I won't "see the warning signs".

 

My son hugged me and tried to comfort me. I asked him if he would please help me in case I was missing signals and he was in pain. I asked if he could forgive me if I didn't notice and could instead ask me for help, because I know I could help.

 

He said he would. It's the best I can hope for.

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Re: Suicide: what if the warnings signs aren't there?

@Mitzi

yes, that was quite sad, my heart went for the family when I heard it on the radio.

I understand that you are very close to your son. But I don't like the idea of hinting that he might think about doing it. I don't know if it is the right word. I would say, there is no one in our family who had taken his/her life so it is not in our genes! Life is very hard, we need positive thinking even to ourselves.


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Re: Suicide: what if the warnings signs aren't there?

Hi @Mitzi, my heart goes out to that family also... And you['ve actually done a really positive thing by having such an open and honest talk about suicide.

There is a common misconception that talking about suicide might 'put the idea' in someone's mind. But in fact what it shows is that you are not afraid to talk about it and that you would respond with support if he ever came to you.

Keeping the lines of communication open is so important.
Contributor

Re: Suicide: what if the warnings signs aren't there?

Two years ago my son had an incidence of self-harm and another occasion where his psychologist rang me, at home, to tell me my son had rung her and he was in our bathroom threatening to self harm.

 

So @readthemanual unfortunately the ideas are already in my son's head. And there have been other histories in the family of attemtped suicide. For these reasons I thought it was necessary to have a very frank discussion.

 

It's not easy but we can't keeping talking about suicide "in whispers".

Super frequent scribe

Re: Suicide: what if the warnings signs aren't there?

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Good afternoon @Mitzi thanks for sharing your reflections. It is wonderful that you have shared your feelings and concern with your son. It is also advantageous that you are well read, connected and alert to possible signs. I guess the school and those in close contact with him are also aware? Keeping the communication alive is so important and it does sound like you are doing that quite well. How wonderful that he has a caring and supporting adult in his life. Research informs us this is a MAJOR protective factor. It is also important to drop/confirm messages that finding someone to talk to that HE trusts and feels comfortable with should never be forgotten. Like this Reachout article mentions, it may not be a parent, close friend or school counsellor - keep searching for that professional help/or someone that help turn things around at that given time. I love how caring you are @Mitzi. AmyJay.


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Re: Suicide: what if the warnings signs aren't there?

I am sorry to hear that @Mitzi. But it is really good that you are close with your son and can discuss with him frankly.

I guess if it is in the family, then we might seek help to change the condition physically by taking medicine or what ever? Preventative approach should be in place. I am glad that your son is already seeking professional help.


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Re: Suicide: what if the warnings signs aren't there?

Hi Mitzi,

I work in a Youth Service and have quals in Mental Health as well as daughters going through depression and self harm i have also had my own serve of depression and anxiety.

We are taught to speak openly about suicide and what you did was so great to talk to your son about it.

I have always had very open communication about mental health with my daughter. I wanted her to grow up and not have any false misconceptions about menatl health, who can get it and how difficult it is for anyone to manage. Im all for medication if it is required and secondly teaching them about what depression is and how it evolves. I tell my daughter that everyone is different and that what "tools" work for me might be different for her.

What I am trying to get to is that your open communication and sharing information with your son is the most you can do..love him talk to him and check in. Bring it up regularly and dont assume he is OK...I am sure you are alrealy all over this!!

My heart breaks when I hear a young person has taken their life and unfortunately my daughter has seen what happens to people who are left behind. She has told me that she has considered suicide so we talk about it and have a deal that I will be her intervention when she feels her emotions sliding down.

You sound like a fantastic parent : )

Lee

Contributor

Re: Suicide: what if the warnings signs aren't there?

Totally agree! We don't "put ideas in someones head" by talking about suicide - quite the opposite. We show we are up for talking about it and that encourages young people to talk instead of keeping it inside.....
Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Suicide: what if the warnings signs aren't there?

Hi @Mitzi, I actually had a similar conversation in a different topic so feel confident in sharing and knowing that it is appropriate. At times of suicidal ideation it was suggested to me that I ask my daughter if she wanted to actually die, or if she wanted to escape the pain and struggle she was experiencing. It let me know where she is at and what I'm dealing with. As well as that, as I've learnt, it also takes away any shame for how she is feeling if she can use and hear the words 'die' and 'suicide' openly instead of feeling like it all has to be kept a big secret. Thanks to @Ngaio-RO for these true words.

 

How is everything going with your son now? I realise I'm a bit late with my response! I just think it's a great question you asked, and one that parents are still asking. 

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