Date
18 October 2017
Children with emotional problems often don't make the decision to talk to someone at the time they need help. Photo: HKEJ
Children with emotional problems often don't make the decision to talk to someone at the time they need help. Photo: HKEJ

How to help children with suicidal thoughts

When children encounter difficulties in their lives, they are more likely to feel helpless than adults do.

The main reason is that they lack experience in coping with stress, which is very understandable. When they have problems in their studies or with their social lives, they will naturally be so frustrated.

How can you help these children effectively?

As I noted in previous articles, the first step for parents, teachers or guardians is to listen to the children. Listening to them would reassure them that there is someone who understands and cares about them.

However, whether they can be “heard” is the key to the problem.

Who will these children with emotional problems or suicidal thoughts turn to and talk to? The decision is theirs, but they do not make the decision at the time they need help.

In recent years, children have chosen to express their suicidal thoughts on the internet by commenting in group chats, for example. This implies that they struggle to tell their feelings in reality.

They might have tried to tell someone but did not receive the proper response. That is why they turn to the internet.

In order to prevent them from committing suicide, parents and teachers should start by building a good and supportive relationship with them.

Parents and teachers should establish an open-minded, friendly and caring image for their children and students, which will be the foundation for helping them deal with emotional problems.

Time and effort are equally important. Children and students need to develop a habit of sharing their grief and happiness with others, so that their parents and teachers will be able to reach them.

Parents and teachers can also take the initiative to share their own childhood stories or put themselves in children’s shoes and give advice. This can make the children feel more at ease. Many problems could be handled and solved by strengthening this kind of effective communication.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct. 4

Translation by John Chui

[Chinese version 中文版]

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

JC/BN/RA

FHKAM (Psychiatry)

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