Saturday 5 December, 2020

Children's body saddened after teen allegedly dies by suicide

The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago says it is saddened by the death of a teenage girl who allegedly committed suicide.

While an autopsy report is yet to confirm the cause of death, the Authority is seeking to guide parents and guardians on signs they can look out for, regarding changes in their children’s behaviour.

It said children communicate using emotions and or behaviours and is encouraging parents to be attuned to their child’s emotional state as well as their changing behaviours.

"Once you recognise a change in their mood, behaviour or if they appear to be in emotional or psychological distress, you should in the first instance speak to your child, also allow them the space to speak about how they feel. Additionally, and very importantly, seek professional help."

The Ministry added that during this time of COVID-19 where children are away from school, their friends and social circle, parents and guardians are encouraged to engage in open communication with their children about how they are coping with the stay-at-home measures.

The Authority also advises parents and guardians to work out a plan with their children about coping during these times.

"This will allow children to openly share their concerns and will assist parents in identifying if there is a need to seek professional support for their children."

However, the Authority noted that parents and guardians might also be overwhelmed because of COVID-19 and the stay-at-home measures.

This, it said may lead to a myriad of other challenges which may cause parents not to recognise the signs and symptoms when a child might be in distress.

The Authority is calling on parents and guardians to take a moment, seek help for family members and their social environment, and call any one of the numbers below for further professional assistance.

• Child Line – 800-4321

• Lifeline (suicide) – 645-2800

• Families in Action – 628-2333

• National Family Services Division – 624-8218/627-1163

• National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-SAVE

• Student Support Services Division: 724-1010

If child abuse is suspected, the public should call the Authority at 996 or the Police at 999.

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