Once a child or young person discloses their thoughts, plans or acts related to self-harm and suicide, mental health professionals rapidly enter a space which requires both clinical and ethical decision-making. This can include sharing this information with parents, sensitively but clearly.
Parents are likely to respond to this news with a range of experiences and emotions, commonly shock, denial, anger, powerlessness, guilt, shame, or embarrassment.
This can often be challenging for mental health professionals who then need to listen to parents' concerns as well as work with them to appreciate the potential risks associated with their child's suicidality.
This week’s guest Lyn O’Grady is a Community Psychologist with an interest in the mental health of children, young people, and families. She has previously worked with parents in the community sector, as a school psychologist and a manager of the KidsMatter Project for the Australian Psychological Society.
Lyn currently works in private practice with children, young people and families and is a registered supervisor of psychology interns. She is also the author of a book titled “Keeping Our Kids Alive: Parenting a Suicidal Young Person”.
Stay tuned as Lyn joins us to highlight the ethical challenges facing mental health practitioners when working with children and young people in relation to suicide risk. Lyn will also provide examples of ways to help parents come to terms with their child’s distress and empower them to be able to provide support. This includes ways to understanding their child’s needs, facts about suicidality, and how they can keep their child safe during times of distress.