MIRECC / CoE
Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention
How to Talk to a Child about a
Suicide Attempt in Your Family
If there has been a recent suicide attempt in your family, this may be one of the toughest experiences you and your children may ever face. It is important to take care of yourself, so that you are better able to care for your child.
This guide is intended to provide you with some of that support, and also share other resources that may be helpful for you now and as your family recovers. The guide is not intended to replace professional mental health advice. In fact, it may be best to use this along with professional support if you or your child is struggling with how to talk about this difficult subject.
- Why talking about a suicide attempt is important;
- Ideas about when you should talk about an attempt,
- Ideas on how much information to share;
- Ways to support a child (preschooler, school age and teenager); and,
- Examples on what to say and how you might say it.
If you have used the Talking to Children about a Suicide Attempt in Your Family we'd like you to complete a short survey so we can make the guides better. We'd like to know how the guides were used, which guides were used and what would make them better. Please take the Talking to Children about a Suicide Attempt in Your Family survey from SurveyMonkey, it is confidential.
How to Talk to a Child about a Suicide Attempt in Your Family
Cómo hablar con su hijo sobre un intento de suicidio en su familia
Also, there are videos for each individual age group:
Order the Free Full-Color 24 Page Guide (English Only)
There is a new 24 page full color booklet that can be ordered for free that combines all age groups. The 24 page, full color booklet includes all three developmental groups, and the DVD. This print booklet is currently available only in English.
Parents and families may find extra support and/or access to professional guidance from the following:
*New Resources* Talking with Children (https://grievingstudents.org/module-section/talking-with-children/ for the live link) for students who have lost a loved one, from the Coalition to Support Grieving Students (https://grievingstudents.org/ live link). Specifically for military families: Supporting Children and Family Survivors of Military Line-of-Duty Deaths (https://grievingstudents.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Military-Line-of-Duty-Deaths.pdf live link)
Veteran parenting Toolkit: Together Building Strong Families - five age-based toolkits for OEF/OIF Veterans and their families from the VA South Central (VISN 16) Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC).
A Veteran’s Guide to Talking With Kids About PTSD from the VA South Central (VISN 16) Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC).
Talking with Children about TBI by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.
Mental Health America — www.mentalhealthamerica.net/
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) — www.nami.org/
SAMSHA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator — www.samhsa.gov/
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Facts for Families: www.aacap.org/
National Child Traumatic Stress Network — www.nctsnet.org/
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
The following resources are geared specifically for Veterans and their families:
Give an Hour — www.giveanhour.org/
Soldier’s Project — www.thesoldiersproject.org/
NAMI Veterans & Military Resource Center — www.nami.org/
Vet Center Program — www.vetcenter.va.gov/
Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1) — www.veteranscrisisline.net/
If you feel you are in crisis, whether or not you are thinking about killing yourself, please call the Lifeline. People have called the Lifeline for help with substance abuse, economic worries, relationship and family problems, sexual orientation, illness, getting over abuse, depression, mental and physical illness, and even loneliness.
Lifeline — 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Or use the Lifeline Chat Service
If you are a Veteran or concerned about one — Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 Press 1
or Text: 838255
or try the Confidential Veterans Chat
Please visit our page of acknowledgements, those who helped make this project a success.