Gospel Solutions for Families

How to Talk About Suicide With Our Families

In this interview about suicide prevention, we meet Dr. Greg Hudnall, executive director and founder of Hope for Utah. Dr. Hundall’s expertise on suicide prevention is sought out by the highest levels of government. He is a former high school principal and has personally been involved as a first responder or a consultant in more than 25 suicides.

Some parents believe talking about suicide will give children and teenagers ideas they hadn’t considered before. Dr. Hundall’s advice is to talk openly about this difficult topic.

“The thing that we need to remember is individuals really don’t want to die; they want the pain to go away. We’re afraid that if we mention it, or start talking to them, it’s going to give them the idea. The reality is they’ve already thought about it,” he explains.

Dr. Hundall describes the warning signs parents may see in suicidal children, including talk of wishing for death or believing friends and family would be better off without him or her. When it is time to have a discussion with that child, Dr. Hundall advises parents create one-on-one time and use “I” messages. For example: “I noticed you seem really depressed. I want you to know I’m worried about you.”

For more expert advice, watch or listen to this episode of Gospel Solutions for Families. Gospel Solutions for Families is a show focused on offering practical, relevant tips for raising children in faith. You can subscribe to the podcast on MormonChannel.org, the Mormon Channel app, or iTunes.