A Few Signs To Look For Re: Whether or Not Young (Black) Children Are At-Risk for Suicide

As I prepare for my next live stream I thought I’d post the following because while it may seem obvious, she makes some really good points from signs you can look for in your child’s (focusing on ages 5-12 ATM) behavior that may help you save their life, to bullying and what schools and parents need to be doing, as well as a quick note on the need for more diversity among mental health care professionals… Check it out.

I will be streaming regarding Black children 5-12 and suicide, mental health and related issues in approximately 2 hours; this will be the first of MANY live streams I do, as there is SO much to speak on…
*Begins Below*

Sharon West new jpg
Sharon West (Photo: Courtesy photo)

Parents, ask questions, take notice of your child’s behavior changes. If you see something, say something. Protect the children, all children. Keep reporting to the school officials until something is done. Document each time you speak with the school officials to include who you spoke with, when and what was said. Also consider other options for ensuring wellness and academic success for your child such as relocating to a different school if necessary. Watch this like a hawk. Do not allow your child to face this alone. Sometimes you just “gotta’ show up” at the school. Your child needs to see you advocate.


Ask questions of your child at any age such as:

  • Are you feeling sad or depressed?
  • Are you thinking about hurting or killing yourself?
  • Have you ever thought about hurting or killing yourself?

At one point when my children were adolescents and experiencing relationship break-ups because they thought they were in love, I saw them emotionally drained and fragile. I was hesitant to ask them if they were considering hurting themselves for fear of planting thoughts of harm until a psychologist friend shared that asking the question can provide assurance that somebody cares and will give your child the chance to talk about problems.

What does the warning signs of suicide look like? A few of the most common:

  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Frequent or pervasive sadness
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities
  • Frequent complaints about physical symptoms often related to emotions, such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.
  • Decline in the quality of schoolwork
  • Preoccupation with death and dying
  • A fairly common statement: “I wish I was dead”

Might I add, parents, reach out to counselors for assistance in caring for your child when you notice these signs and symptoms. Many offer plans to assist with payment for services. Get help for your child. Do not be so sure that you can work through this with your child without professional help.

It is my desire that there is more cultural congruence in the mental health profession- counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists.

There ought to be more ethnic and racially diverse professionals present in this specialty. I genuinely believe cultural congruence makes it easier for some to broach certain difficult concerns.

When I sought an African American counselor in Norfolk, Virginia, to help my 16 year -old nephew navigate through the grief process of the sudden death of his father, my brother, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines wellness best:
“The state of physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease.”   “


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