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Dutchess_III's avatar

Is it possible for a five year old to become suicidal?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42442points) November 18th, 2015

Do they even have any concept of death, or the future or that things might change in some way if they killed themselves?

If so, what kinds of things could cause that?

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18 Answers

OriginalCunningFox's avatar

If a child has experienced enough abuse or other traumatizing experiences, one could guess that it would be possible for the child to want to kill themselves.
Or maybe it could even just happen by accident. A child could see someone commit suicide on TV or something and then just mimick the act, without fully realizing what they’re even doing.

I’m sure others with have more well informed answers, but I just found this question interesting so I wanted to say my ideas.

I just found an article but I can’t figure out how to link to it right now. A six year old boy committed suicide. They knew that the boy had some anger issues from his parents’ divorce but they can’t be sure if he knew exactly what he was doing or not.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Yes. My niece, before my sister adopted her, experienced prolonged sexual abuse and was then ripped from her home and put into the foster care system and suffered emotional abuse there. She was suicidal (among other things) around the age of five. She constantly talked about wanting to die, or wanting to kill herself, and it was very obvious that it was no different than an older person who was thinking about it.

Are you asking because you know of a child that you suspect might be suicidal?

chyna's avatar

@DrasticDreamer How old is your niece now and is she still experiencing those feelings?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@chyna She’ll be twelve this month. But no, thankfully not. We went through years of therapy with her. At home, out of the home, and then she was sent to an institution (not a mental institution, but a hardcore therapy based clinic kind of thing) where she stayed for a little over a month. It was an extremely long, very hard road to get her where she is. We were dealing with all kinds of severe emotional and behavioral problems on top of the depression. But yeah, no more depression, and most of her other problems are gone now, too. :)

Dutchess_III's avatar

@DrasticDreamer that is just awesome.

Here2_4's avatar

Kids who see, experience a lot of violence are prime for it.
Kids who have lost a family member can want to “Join” them.
9–11, Paris, Syria, can give even very small children a sense of hopelessness, despair, lack of faith in the human race, a reduced sense of value.
One does not have to be voting age to suffer depression or PTS.

Judi's avatar

My daughter was 5 when she said, “I just want to kill myself.” My husband at the time had suffered severe depression and said to her, “I’‘ll make you a deal honey, I won’t do it if you won’t.”
The next year he DID kill himself.
My daughter kept screaming, “But he promised me!”

Banjo_Pickin_Appalachian_Wizar's avatar

this thread makes me immensely sad

Cruiser's avatar

IMO anyone including a 5 year old can pick up on imagery and actions in their lives they are exposed to that could teach a little one about how grown ups end their lives. Monkey see Monkey do.

Children at that age do not have the mental capacity to inject reason and filter their emotions and can react to stressful situations in the only ways they have been indirectly made aware of. Add in that these same children are in and around guns, drugs and other weapons of death that enable their dance with death to commence. All too often these violent conclusions to young children’s lives are preceded by many failed moments for parents, guardians and friends to notice a child in duress.

Bill1939's avatar

My first attempt at suicide was at age six.

Here2_4's avatar

wow that ^^^ hit me in the nose like a wall.
I am glad you failed your attempt.
Is it something you can elaborate about with us?

Cupcake's avatar

They might not have an adult-level concept of death, but they can perceive that their life is intolerable.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh my God, @Judi. I can’t tell you how…how…sad. There is no word to describe…..

rojo's avatar

I think kids as young as five can conceive of the notion of death. They may not understand the details (do any of us?) but they understand the concept of gone never to be seen again.

When my son was seven, a little older than five admittedly, his uncle died in a tractor accident. He did not witness it but was on the farm with his grandparents at the time. I know that the emotional turmoil of that incident tore him up for years afterward.

augustlan's avatar

In my personal experience, more yes than no. The first time I wished I was dead, I was five years old. I remember it vividly. I wished and prayed for death, but I don’t think I understood that I could actually kill myself. Before I hit middle school/junior high, I did figure that out and became actively suicidal from that point on.

What caused it? I was being sexually abused by an uncle, and my mother wasn’t keeping me safe from him.

augustlan's avatar

Also, hugs to everyone. <3

Dutchess_III's avatar

((((Hugs, Auggie.))))

Here2_4's avatar


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