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Question
Posted by: Anon | 2012/01/23

5yr old with depression I think!!!

hello, i need your advice urgently! A 5yr old told me that he wants to die, saying that he will do so by knocking his head just because he doesnt like the school he''s attending. surely this cant be a phase he''s going through, because a 5yr old talking about suicide for me this is not normal or healthy! what can i do to help this child, cant talk to the parents as they not your typical parent who will take this matter seriously, many times we told to mind our own business, before we did it but with his latest statement i feel that i cant keep quiet.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Its really hard to diagnose typical depression in a young child, but any comment by a child that he wants to die must be taken seriously. Finding oneself in a school one hates, perhaps where one is being bullied, is indeed a terrible situation for a child ( who, one hopes, won't have had many terrible experiences ). And when agitated, such a child might utter a suicide threat, not because they actually want to be dead, or even understand what that would mean, but because they have heard this said by other people, or on TV, and they're desperate to get their parents to listen and to take them seriously.
From what you say, maybe these parents don't usually take the child seriously enough, and he may feel he has to create a crisis of some sort to get their attention.
But its difficult to see to you could intervene without talking directly to the parents and trying to convince them to take this situation seriously. You probably have no legal right to do so, though maybe you could interest Child Welfare - but then they would have to talk with the parents. The school might be approached, but again - they can opnly act through the parents. Talk to them and urge them to lsiten to their child and take him seriously.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Anon | 2012/01/23

Thank you so much!!!! your help is always appreciated!

Reply to Anon
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/01/23

Its really hard to diagnose typical depression in a young child, but any comment by a child that he wants to die must be taken seriously. Finding oneself in a school one hates, perhaps where one is being bullied, is indeed a terrible situation for a child ( who, one hopes, won't have had many terrible experiences ). And when agitated, such a child might utter a suicide threat, not because they actually want to be dead, or even understand what that would mean, but because they have heard this said by other people, or on TV, and they're desperate to get their parents to listen and to take them seriously.
From what you say, maybe these parents don't usually take the child seriously enough, and he may feel he has to create a crisis of some sort to get their attention.
But its difficult to see to you could intervene without talking directly to the parents and trying to convince them to take this situation seriously. You probably have no legal right to do so, though maybe you could interest Child Welfare - but then they would have to talk with the parents. The school might be approached, but again - they can opnly act through the parents. Talk to them and urge them to lsiten to their child and take him seriously.

Reply to cybershrink

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