Throughout your children’s lives, they will experience difficult times. As a parent, it may be hard to determine if and when to get additional help.

There’s a lot to take into consideration. Are your children’s difficulties getting worse? Are you worried their difficulties will get worse? Here are some things to look for that could be helpful when deciding whether or not to seek help.

Signs Your Children May Need Therapy:

  • Show excessive worry or hopelessness. This could include saying phrases such as,“Why even bother,” “I don’t know what I’ll do if [something] happens/doesn’ thappen,” or “I don’t want to be here anymore.”
  • Withdraw from people or from activities they usually like.
  • Exhibit excessive negative behavior or reckless behavior that’s unusual for them.
  • Have extreme changes in eating and sleeping habits that last at least a few days.
  • Show some self-destructive behaviors, like hurting themselves, pulling out hair, and drinking alcohol/taking drugs.
  • Have regressions, like bedwetting, throwing out-of-control tantrums, and being clingy.
  • Frequently complain about physical pain, such as headaches.
  • Show problems with memory or concentration, which may affect academic performance.
  • Talk about suicide.

Some of these alone are normal for children to experience, especially during the current pandemic. An occasional bad day is normal; your children are learning how to navigate all sorts of emotions. If you’re worried about certain behaviors, pay attention to how often it happens, how severe it is, and if it’s a normal behavior for kids that age to have.

It is important to note that if your children talk about suicide or are in a serious situation, seek help immediately by calling 911 or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255.

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Suicidal thoughts can affects anyone. The stigma surrounding suicide can make it difficult for people who are struggling to speak up. This month especially is a time to raise awareness and help people find the resources they need. Here are a few ideas on what you can do to participate:

About the Author

Dr. Gregory A. Hudnall is a former high school principal and associate superintendent with the Provo City School District. He has been involved with suicide prevention for the past thirty years. He is nationally sought after for his expertise in postvention.

Dr. Hudnall is the founder of Hope4Utah, a non-profit, community-based organization dedicated to suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. The school-based program, Hope Squad, has been responsible for over 5,000 students referred for help and over 1,000 hospitalized. The Hope Squad program is now in over 950 schools around the world.

For over fifteen years Dr. Hudnall has led a state-wide volunteer suicide crisis team that has responded to over fifty youth suicides.

Dr. Hudnall has presented at over 100 national and state conferences on suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. He also presents on bullying, connectedness, community collaboration, and school safety. Dr. Hudnall was invited to testify before the United States Surgeon General on suicide in Utah. He has presented to the U.S. Department of Health and at the national conferences of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Association of Suicidology. Dr. Hudnall was also invited to participate in a webinar on African Americans and suicide by the White House.

Under Greg’s direction, over 60,000 people nationwide have been trained in suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention. He has presented across the United States and to many countries around the world on suicide prevention, including to the Minister of Education for Madrid, Spain.

Dr. Hudnall is considered one of the leading experts in community and school-based suicide
prevention, intervention and postvention. He lives by the mantra, “while it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an entire community to save one.”

To learn more about Dr. Hudnall, youth suicide prevention and HopeSquad, go to:

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