Yellow September: Causes and Prevention of Child Suicide

Child suicide is devastating, but it can be prevented if we heed the signs and act early. Discover the main causes and measures to follow.

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 20 September, 2022

If suicide is a taboo subject, silenced and neglected, child suicide is even more so. It still seems unreasonable to us to think that a child, who is in the “happiest stage of life”, You may experience a problem of such magnitude that it leads you to take your own life.. However, this is a painful reality that affects many families around the world.

Suicide is among the leading causes of death in the adolescent population.

Although the suicide rate in children is much lower, it has increased in recent times. Every day, many minors consider ending their lives, make attempts or commit suicide. Fortunately, prevention is possible.

Why is September yellow?

Since 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) has established September 10 as World Suicide Prevention Day. A) Yes, yellow september is an awareness campaign aimed at reminding the population that a large number of suicide cases can be prevented. Now, why yellow?

The reason for this color as a symbol of suicide prevention is part of the story of Mike Emme. Mike was an American teenager who, at the age of 17, decided to end his life in a time of great suffering. The young man was fond of car restoration. At one point, he bought and restored a 1968 Ford Mustang, painting it bright yellow.

After his funeral, family and friends launched a campaign to prevent other young people from suffering the same fate. Thus, they began to distribute more than 500 yellow tapes with the message “Please don’t kill yourself, seek help”.

As a result of this fact, the yellow ribbon as a suicide prevention program. The initiative is still underway.

Causes of child suicide

Definitely, Improbable and terrifying as it may seem to us, child suicide is real.. We may think that there is no reason for a child to want to commit suicide, but there are various causes and risk factors.

Have a clinical condition

Children who have depressive symptoms or suffer from a psychological disorder are at higher risk. Anxiety, low self-esteem, guilt, or difficulty dealing with your emotions are also risk factors.

Depressive symptoms in children hold the possibility of a suicide attempt in the near future.

family dysfunction

The family environment has a great impact, being able to constitute a protective factor (if it is positive and nutritious) or a source of risk. Dysfunctional family nuclei, in which there is aggressiveness and neglect, or in which the child does not receive the necessary love and support, are very harmful. Even more so if within the family the child suffers abuse of any kind.


The bullying It is a very common problem that causes great emotional stress in children. Rejection, isolation, humiliation and ridicule received by peers can plunge the minor into a state of despair such that suicide seems the only viable way out.

stressful events

The experience of certain stressful events also contributes to the appearance of suicidal ideation. Being in mourning for the loss of a loved one, dealing with the divorce of parents or suffering school failure affect excessively. Especially if the child is not taught to manage her emotions or is not supported.

History of attempted suicide

On the other hand, the existence of previous suicide attempts, as well as the suicide carried out by other relatives, can increase the risk.

How to prevent child suicide?

Child suicide devastates entire families. Although it is not always possible to avoid it, it can be effectively prevented in many cases. The following are some recommendations in this regard.

Offer quality parenting

As we have said, the family environment is fundamental. Offering a democratic and respectful upbringing, based on affection, support and limits is a great way to prevent.

Maintain regular and fluid communication

In line with the above, it is important that communication between the child and the parents be fluid and occur on a regular basis. This not only will allow the minor to feel heard, understood and accompaniedbut it will also make it easier for parents to know how you feel, what you think, what worries you and what you need.

Validating children’s emotions

Frequently, we make the mistake of minimizing the emotions of children, We don’t take your discomfort seriously or think it’s just a streak. Telling them not to cry, not to exaggerate, that their problem is not that bad, it only makes them feel more alone in their pain.

On the contrary, allowing them to express themselves openly, understand them, show empathy and help them manage those emotions makes a difference.

Pay attention to signs

This is, without a doubt, one of the key points to prevent child suicide. It is common for several signs and signals to appear that alert us that something is happening with the children.

Some of the main ones are the following:

  • start to isolate of your environment.
  • Appears listless, sad, or irritable much of the time.
  • have emotional difficultiesfears or feelings that overwhelm him and with which he does not know how to deal.
  • Their behaviors have changed. Now is more aggressive or inattentive or start taking unnecessary risks.
  • Has disturbances in sleep or appetite.
  • Neglect your hygiene and appearance and you have lost interest in activities you used to enjoy.
  • Shows interest in death or sends worrying messages over the internet.
Discovering the signs that children show allows us to act quickly.

Seek professional help to prevent child suicide

It is crucial to seek professional help so that the child can be accompanied and guided in this moment of suffering. At the first warning signs, it is convenient to act and ask for guidance and support from experts. Child suicide can be prevented.

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