Discussing suicide with your children – lessons from the death of Kate Spade
This week the world woke up to news of the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Both seemed to be thriving in their careers as a fashion designer and CNN journalist respectively. These are people the youth are looking up to and they may not understand how such successful people who are admired by many could give up on life like that. It must be really confusing especially if the children do not understand how to differentiate between success and depression. They may need guidance if they are to continue admiring talents such as those of Anthony and Kate.
In the US, suicide is said to be the number 10 cause of death. Many people have been unable to cope with the strains of life and resorted to ending their lives. Teens have not been spared and it is important for parents to nip these thoughts in the bud. Adolescence comes with so many challenges that have resulted in depression and finally suicide for teens that were unable to cope. As parents, it is important to introduce the topic of suicide when such cases arise as it is not only a moment to mourn but a time to educate as well.
Tips on how to talk with your child about suicide
Refer to the trending suicide cases
The death of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain is a great opening. For children who have no idea who you are talking about, search for any work done by Anthony and Kate together with their photo and introduce their contribution to society. Ask them how they feel about the deaths, especially if your child knew of them.
Discuss depression despite the happy face
Your children need to understand that it is possible to have a put together appearance yet be torn apart from within. Talk about the dangers of depression and the importance of talking about the problems they may be facing. Discuss reasons for depression and make it fun by encouraging them to participate. You will be able to gauge if your children have faced challenges with depression based on their responses.
Discuss ways to avoid suicidal thoughts
It is important for your children to understand that it is normal to sometimes feel defeated but it is not okay to give in to suicidal thoughts. Discuss ways of keeping these thoughts at bay. Let the children know that suicide begins with the thought before the action.
Discuss the importance of being a friend
Kate and Anthony had so many people around them who were extremely shocked by their deaths that they could not even begin to explain what happened. Despite their relationships, they had no idea of the challenges the two-faced. Teach your children to be true friends by finding ways to read their friends’ behaviors and knowing they need help even if they do not voice it out. They need to understand that not everyone is comfortable discussing their problems. Sometimes they need help even before they realize it.
We need to save the future generation and reverse the growing concern about the increasing number of deaths by suicide. It is important for us to emphasize the importance of hope and reasons why it is necessary to live with hope knowing things will get better tomorrow. They need to know that the hopelessness of today is only temporary. They need to believe that tomorrow things will be better but for them to enjoy a better tomorrow, they need to survive today.