Suicide Rates among Young Children Low, yet Troubling

When suicide is connected with youths, it is often thought of in regards to teenagers and young adults, for whom the issue is among the top five leading causes of death in the United States. Younger children, especially those under ten, are typically not associated with suicide, yet attempts and successful acts are on record. A recently published in-depth look at suicide in this young age group explains that while parents may not think their children are capable of having thoughts and feelings leading to suicide, depression and other psychological issues can be a major factor in a child’s everyday experience, and taking care to look out for warning signs can potentially be life-saving.

© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Marshall Corows

    Marshall Corows

    February 12th, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    I never thought kids under ten can also actually plan and execute a suicide…after all, it takes a lot of courage to do it and these little kids do not even have issues that most adults face…issues like finance and the like…yet if there are cases, it is indeed cause of concern.

  • christopher


    February 12th, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    it is hard to imagine why such young children commit suicide…they are not individuals who are fed up with their lives, they are not those who have financial or drug addiction problems…yet if there are kids out there committing suicide, then I think they should start to teach them the value of life in schools all over.

  • Terri


    February 13th, 2010 at 5:49 AM

    What these poor kids have had to live through to even be able to have thoughts like this is scary to even think about. This makes me sadder than anything I have seen in a very long time.

  • Elisa Medhus

    Elisa Medhus

    February 13th, 2010 at 6:29 PM

    I lost my 20 year old son a couple of months ago and since then I feel lost. I’m just trudging through the day limping along like a broken woman whose limbs have been severed. It seems like everyone else around me is over it. His death, his absence is like an 800 pound gorilla I the room that no one seems to notice but me. I feel so out of step with the rest of the world. Everyone is moving forward while I drown in a dark, suffocating sorrow. Maybe it’s a mom thing. It has helped to write about him in my blog. He communicates to us through mediums and other avenues to describe death, the afterlife, and other subjects. This brings me great comfort. I hope it helps other grieving parents too.

  • gweb


    February 14th, 2010 at 8:24 AM

    This is a very important article, please repost it whereever you see fit!

    I was a suicidal child, beginning around when I was 8. I devised plans on how I would do it, and ran away for a day when I was 9 – my mother found me in a park not too far away from where we lived. My parents completely ignored my very obvious problems with depression – which I believe now were more environmental than chemical. Parents: never ignore your child’s depression, it’s very likely that you probably caused it! I am not clinician but my theory is that childhood depression is usually caused by poor parenting (mine were over-authoratative yet neglectful, and emotionally abusive)

    I’m 24 now and am still struggling with my issues, albeit a lot better than when I was a kid. Being a kid was the worst part of my life. Adulthood is hard – the sense of autonomy that was denied from me in my childhood is the most challenging yet rewarding part of life as an adult.

  • Faith W

    Faith W

    February 14th, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    Thank you so much for raising this troubling issue. I would have never thought that suicide would be a cause for concern among parents of younger children but I was obviously wrong. There are some things that you learn in life that just cripple the spirit, and the very thought that there are young children out there every day looking for a way to end their life instead of having the joy to revel in it makes me sad beyond what words could ever express. I hope that this opens the eyes of the public, and makes us so much more aware of the things going around us, makes us look out for those children who need looking after, and gives us the strength to say a kind wword or two to those who need it so badly. Suicide should never be contemplated by anyone, and to have that thought weighing heavily on the heart of a child is sad indeed.

  • Sally


    February 15th, 2010 at 11:44 AM

    If you are not looking for these things in your own child then you could both be in serious trouble. In an ideal world kids would always feel like they could talk to their parents about anything but things have changed so much from when I was growing up that I am not sure that this is still true. There are so many issues and problems that kids today encounter from a very early age, things like bullying and the pressure to use drugs, that I know these things can be overwhelming and frightening, and way too much for any young child to deal with. So while it alarms me that there are this many kids who have thought about ending it all, it does not surprise me. This is a cruel world that we live in, and people are having to deal with crises and situations way earlier than once was the case. Suicide is not the answer but one that I am sure that many have thought about as a way of resolving their problems.

  • milton


    February 15th, 2010 at 1:06 PM

    I have read a couple of such reports… it is very hard to understand why, but as a user has commented above, it may well have to do with psychological problems. Any child with such behavior should be mentored and given proper counseling.

  • T.Roberts


    February 16th, 2010 at 2:29 AM

    Schools can play a huge role in preventing disasters like these and life and its aim and benefits should be brought into the regular curriculum so that young children learn to respect God’s greatest gift to each one of us- life.

  • Austin


    February 16th, 2010 at 7:22 AM

    When did all of this start? I never remember thinking that I was going to kill myself when I was a kid even when I was bullied at school and all of the other crap that goes on there. I had a great family life and when it comes right down to it that is where so many of the problems like this have to begin and end.
    If you have parents who will step in for their kids and take up for the through bad times and good it is so much better than those who stay hands off.
    Parents try too many times to let kids handle things on their own, and yes they need to learn to do that and develop a sense of responsibility but there are other times that a parents help is needed and it is not there. Gwet involved with your kids, know what they are doing and who they are hanging with and I think that things like this will begin to decrease quickly.



    February 16th, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    To have ten year olds committing suicide is just insane… aren’t parents supposed to keep an eye on such young children? and by saying keep an eye, i do not mean to have them in your sight 24 hours a day, but what i mean is to keep a check on what they are doing, who they are interacting and everything.

  • Leeann


    February 17th, 2010 at 2:56 AM

    What can be hard for children is that they are helpless, dependent, and have “no way out” of a bad or intolerable situation, or at least they can’t think of one. When I was about 6, I tried to end my life by stepping in front of a car on a busy road. It seemed a good solution to what was happening at home, which I could not escape from. I thought about it a number of times in a kind of fantasy “what if” way before I actually tried it on the spur of the moment when the opportunity suddenly presented itself. I was hit by the car but luckily not seriously injured. My parents never knew this wasn’t just an accident–afterwards I was too scared to tell them. I don’t think that learning about “the value of life” in school, as poster Christopher suggested as a preventative measure, would have altered my action–they did teach that in the religious school I attended. If life is intolerable, it simply is, and thinking that 12 years in the future you will no longer be in the bad situation seems a lifetime away. I would not say the primary cause of my attempting this was that I had psychological problems, but rather family problems.

  • mckayla


    January 10th, 2011 at 8:00 AM

    I need help my son has begun taking dextromphet 10mgs and this sat he put a knife to his wrist. he is only 7 and I don’t know what to do because right now his dad has custody of him.. and that in its self is a long story, but it was all done illegal. What can I do for my son?

  • Annette Baker

    Annette Baker

    April 12th, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    On the night of Sept.7 2007,I came home and found my 12 year old little boy in my bathroom. He had shot himself in the head with my husbands 12 gage shotgun. If you can only imagine the horror. Nothing can ever prepare a parent for that. Sheriffs dept. said he had used his toe. How does a 12 old boy know this? My life stopped that night because I didnt understand. Like Elisa, most people feel I should move on. He was my baby. I thought we were so close. I never saw this coming. No signs.No behavior change.He was loved by everyone. At school and with anyone he came in contact with. Always greeted everbody with a hug. Now we live everyday with quilt. Feeling like,how could we not see what he was going through. This has torn our family apart. Ill never get over it and my life will never be the same.

  • Randi Salinas

    Randi Salinas

    December 7th, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    My sister committed suicide when she was 10 years old in 2000. We grew up in a loving home; yes it was our single mother who raised us; however, our needs were more than met, and we had plenty of love and support. It is so bothersome that ignorant people will post their non-biased opinions regarding childhood mental healthj, suicide, and blame parents, and more importantly, the increase in prescribed psyhotropics in children. 12 Years later my daughter, Isabel, has a severe mental illness–Severe Mood Dysregulation– and she belongs to a very loving 2 parent family home. My point is that sometimes GENETICS are all there is to do with mental illness in young children/adolescents; There is a very real cause of concern in young children’s mental health. Parents like myself are paramount in getting these kiddos the psychiatric help they need. I believe that it is medicating children that is the current cause of concern; if parents and adults alike only knew the devastating effects and affects of having a child with mental illness, then you would understand why drugs, such as Adderall, Prozac, Risperdal, Lithium, and Seroquel work, and thus we put our children on them. I am proof that parenting a child under special psychiatric care WORKS in preventing sucide in a child under 5. In May 2012 my daughter, 5 at the time, tried to slit both wrists early in the morning. There is a lot of controversy as to why young children try to commit, and commit sucide, follow my blog for more info.

  • Erin998


    February 26th, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    I first attempted suicide right after I turned 6

  • kat


    August 1st, 2015 at 7:27 AM

    I also attempted/took pills at about 6 and again at 19:(

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