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Aug 7, 2018

Suicide Among Children: Know the Signs and Get Help!

There are more questions than answers tonight about the tragic death of seven-year-old Antwone Marin. The little boy from Seine Bight died by suicide on Monday and for Belizeans across the country, it seems too difficult to fathom that a child would end his life. While this is believed to be the first child to have died by suicide under the age of ten in Belize, the sad reality is that it happens across the world. There may be a number of reasons including mental health disorders, abuse, personal loss, bullying, and even economic hardship at home.  Today, we spoke with clinical psychologist Deshane Gutierrez, who shares some of the warning signs you can look for in children and some of the actions you can take if you notice that a child is not him or herself.

 

Deshane Gutierrez, Clinical Psychologist

Deshane Gutierrez

“There are many symptoms that we can look at. In terms of younger children, you may see irritability. They become annoyed very easily. You may see a change in their mood from being a happy little child to a child that isn’t as happy anymore or they may no longer enjoy the things that they once enjoyed. So, it is similar things like adults. Children tend to be more irritable and angry. But also it is to keep in mind that being sad doesn’t always mean that you are contemplating suicide. Being sad is a normal emotion as well. But there can be a flip-side, sometimes we can tell that somebody is contemplating suicide and sometimes we don’t really know. Just like a teenager, that child may be or appear that everything is okay and we don’t really know until having that conversation. And also realizing that children, teenagers and adults do have similar feelings and their feelings do get hurt and they do feel sad. It is having that conversation and being open to say, ‘what’s wrong?’ ‘ Are you okay today?’  ‘ You look sad today, did something happen?’ ‘ Do you want something?’ ‘Did you get hurt?’ . So, it is having that conversation with them, that they are open to at least know that someone care. If you are noticing some of these symptoms with your child or relative, it would be good if you are finding it difficult to start that conversation process, to seek professional help. In Belize we have persons that that they can access service from. I know the clinics also have services that people could access and try to reach out. If you are not sure where you can access counselor or a psychologist, start the question.  Often times we see on Facebook on Buy and Sell, people are selling certain things and now it is time for us to take that extra step and ask.  I need to reach out to a counselor or psychologist where can I get that assistance from?  From wherever you are whether you are in PG or Corozal, I think it is best to reach out. Seeing a professional doesn’t mean that you are crazy. Seeing a professional means that you identify that there is something you are struggling with and you want that support in a non-judgmental setting.”

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