QQQ18 September 5, 2018: Symptoms of Depression and Suicide Warning Signs in Children and Adolescents

QPR Quick Quotes: Symptoms of Depression and Suicide Warning Signs in Children and Adolescents
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  Symptoms of Depression and Suicide Warning
                    Signs in Children and Adolescents

                                                                                                     -Carolyn V. Coarsey, Ph.D.

Since many suicidal people do not seek help, the prevention of
their deaths is difficult. But since not seeking help is a known
symptom of suicidality, the task of prevention lies more with those
persons in the sufferer’s existing social network than in the person
contemplating suicide.

                                                                            -Paul Quinnett, Ph.D.,
       Founder & CEO, QPR Institute

Gatekeeper classes conducted by the Foundation are primarily dedicated
to training attendees on how best to recognize warning signs and risk
factors in suicidal adults. This is due to our emphasis on suicide
prevention in the workplace, i.e., businesses and industry. However, often
in our training, participants ask questions pertinent to signs of depression
and suicide prevention in children. As a new school year is here, it seems
fitting to dedicate a couple of the QPR Quick Quotes to the subject of
children and what is currently known about symptoms of depression and
warning signs of suicide. It is also important to note that the QPR models
are widely applied in training Gatekeepers in schools and universities
throughout the world. 
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), suicide is the second
leading cause of death for people ages 15-29. Other reports regarding
suicide and children in the United States suggests that suicide is the third
leading cause of death in young people 10-24 years of age and that
depression is the leading cause of disability of people over 5 years of age.
Recognizing the increase in deaths by suicide as of 2018, one can only
assume that these statistics will grow, and it is frightening to think of the
number of children and adolescents who will never reach full adulthood.
It is therefore imperative that the adults in their family, schools and social
circles become educated on how to recognize early depression in children
and learn what to do when depression is identified.

"If the social network is even minimally trained as suicide
prevention “gatekeepers” to recognize and respond to suicide
warning signs and emerging life-threatening crisis, lives can be
                                                                                                     -Paul Quinnett, Ph.D.,
  Founder & CEO, QPR Institute

Similar to adults, signs, and symptoms of depression in children of all
ages may include the following:

    -Feeling sad, blue, or irritable
    -Significant appetite changes with or without significant weight loss,
      failing to gain weight or gaining weight excessively
    -Change in sleep pattern: trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
    -Physical agitation or retardation (restlessness or feeling slowed down)
    -Fatigue or low energy/loss of energy
    -Difficulty concentrating
    -Feeling worthless, excessively guilty, or tend to self-blame
    -Thoughts of death or suicide

In addition to the classic symptoms, children may exhibit other symptoms. 

    -Impaired performance of schoolwork
    -Persistent boredom
    -Quickness to anger
    -Frequent physical complaints, like headaches and stomachaches
    -More risk-taking behaviors and/or showing less concern for their own
      safety (i.e., running in the street, climbing excessively high, etc.)
    -Withdrawal from normal social activities due to being bullied by
      classmates or peers
Parents of infants and children with depression often report noticing the
following behavior changes in the child:

    -Crying more easily or more often
    -Increased sensitivity or criticism or other negative experiences
    -More irritable mood than usual or compared to others their age and
      gender, leading to vocal or physical outbursts, defiant, destructive,
      angry or other acting out behaviors.
What family members and friends should do if they suspect that their
child is depressed, ASAP:

    -Seek mental health and assessment and treatment
    -Confer with child’s primary care doctor
    -Seek help from resources within your country by accessing the World
      Health Organization (www.who.int) for information about assistance on
      the subject of suicide prevention in your region. In the United States,
      the following are websites that can provide innumerable resources.

American Association of Suicidology. www.suicidology.org
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. www.afsp.org

Jason Foundation. www.jasonfoundation.com
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. www.nami.org
National Institute of Mental Health. www.nimh.nih.gov
National Suicide Prevention Hotline. www.suicide.org

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
(SAMSHA). www.samsha.gov

Yellow Ribbon Prevention Program. www.yellowribbon.org
Warning signs to be taken seriously as the child may be at risk for suicide: 

    -Many depressive symptoms (changes in eating, sleeping, normal
    -Social isolation, including isolation from the family
    -Talk of suicide, hopelessness, or helplessness
    -Increased acting out of undesirable behaviors (sexual/behavioral)
    -Increased risk-taking behaviors
    -Frequent accidents
    -Substance abuse
    -Focus on morbid and negative themes
    -Talk about death and dying
    -Increased crying or reduced emotional expression
    -Giving away possessions

Note: while this information was collected from a number of resources,
the primary reference on depression in children and resources, is:
Medical Author: Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD/Medical Editor: William C.
Shiel Jr. MD. FACP, FACR.

Future QPR Quick Quotes will feature articles on talking to children about
a loved one’s suicide and related topics important for family members to


If you are interested in learning more about how to become a Gatekeeper
and becoming part of a more extensive network that is dedicated to
suicide prevention, see www.qprinstitute.com. To learn more about the
training classes offered by the Family Assistance Foundation and for
information about upcoming Gatekeeper classes and how you can
become a trainer within your workplace go to fafonline.org. You can also
contact Stephen Young at stephen.young@aviem.com.

Upcoming Gatekeeper Trainings

Atlanta Gatekeeper Training
Courtyard Atlanta Airport North, September 27, 2018

Atlanta Train-the-Trainer 
Courtyard Atlanta Airport North, September 27, 2018

Hong Kong Gatekeeper Training
January 2019

Hong Kong Train-the-Trainer
January 2019

QPR stands for Question, Persuade and Refer and is a research-based
intervention that anyone can learn. The Foundation works with the QPR
Institute to customize this successful intervention for cruise lines,
aviation companies, human resources professionals and other workplace
groups. Please contact stephen.young@aviem.com
 at the Foundation if you
would like to know more about how you can learn to be a QPR Gatekeeper
in your organization. You can also learn how you can become a certified
trainer of the QPR Gatekeeper model. Contact the Foundation to discuss
your interests.

© 2018 QPR Institute Inc./Family Assistance Education & Research Foundation 
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