The Warning Signs of Bullying and Suicide Go Hand-in-Hand

Child Development magazine was one of the many to publish the results of a study that showed a link between bullying and suicide. It was shown that children who were bullied in school were at high risk of suffering from depression and also developing anti-social disorders that lead to isolation and in turn cause them to fall deeper into depression. It has also been reported time and time again that the number one cause of suicide is depression that goes untreated.

What to Look For

Looking for the warning signs of suicide goes hand-in-hand with also being aware of the signs of bullying since it plays such a big part in your child’s mental state and can increase the risk of suicide. By knowing what the warning signs are for both bullying and suicide you give yourself a better chance at spotting them early on and getting a child the help that they need before it’s too late.

The warning signs that your child is being bullied are:

  • Loss of interest in school or fear of going to school
  • Regular complaints of feeling sick with stomach aches or headaches
  • Appears to be anxious especially when asked about school
  • Problems sleeping
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Has very few or no friends
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Comes home from school with unexplained bruises or scrapes
  • Is missing money or belongings

The warning signs that your child may be suicidal:

  • Loss of interest in the things they used to enjoy
  • Appears to feel hopeless
  • A sad mood that lasts more than a day
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Changes in their eating habits
  • Writing about death and dying
  • Talking about death
  • Mentioning suicide even in passing

As a parent or teacher you are in a position of being able to spot changes in behavior that could indicate a serious problem. Talking to a child that appears to be in distress is one of the best things that you can do. Your approach should be kind and caring, sympathetic and non-judgmental. If they mention problems with bullying, show them that you understand and that they’re not alone by sharing stories about when you were bullied in school. Remind them that they’re not alone and enforce to them that they’re not at fault for the bullying and that bullies often say or do mean things out of insecurity.

If you suspect that a child is on the verge of harming themselves or someone else then you will need to get some outside help from someone who is trained in dealing with suicide and crisis prevention, such as a doctor or police officer. It may seem a little extreme or harsh but suicide is a very serious matter and you don’t want to waste any time in getting the child the help they need.