You need to be vigilant in observing how a young person is responding to the suicide of a loved one, how a child is managing the grief process. There are signs that indicate that a child is in need of additional professional support after a loved one commits suicide.
The most common signs that a child is need of professional support following a loved one’s suicide include:
- Loss of interest in friends
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Difficulty sleeping
- Changes in appetite
- Aggressive towards self or others
- Suicidal thoughts
- Suicidal behavior
In the aftermath of a suicide, attention must be paid to the language used and commentary made by a younger person. For example, a child or teen might state something to the effect that they want to be with the family member or other loved one who committed suicide. This type of expression is not uncommon. It does warrant an exploration to make certain that the child or teen making such a remark isn’t experiencing a suicidal ideation.
Selecting a suitable therapist involves ensuring that a professional has experience working with children or teens who’ve lost a family member by suicide. Before a therapist is engaged, a meeting should be arranged between the professional, the child or teen, and a parent or other responsible adult. Typically, a therapist will schedule this type of preliminary meeting at no cost or obligation.