25 Children, Teens and Suicide Loss Deciding if Your Child Needs Added Support Some children may benefit from additional support to help them navigate and process complicated emotions. How should I respond if my child says he or she wants to die? It is normal for young loss survivors to long to see or be with the person who died. They may think that if they die they will be reunited with the person they lost. Acknowledge their wish to see the person who died, but affirm that they have a life to live, and that the person who died would want them to continue to live life to the fullest. I know you really want to be with mommy right now. I really want that, too. It is okay for us to miss her terribly. But I know that mommy would want us to live a long, full, and happy life, and we still have a lot of it to live. I hear that you really want to be with daddy. I know it hurts to not be with him. Daddy would be really sad if we didn’t continue to live our lives. There are so many things we can do to keep daddy with us. Is there something like a photo or a stuffed animal that would help you feel close to daddy right now? While these expressions of wanting to be with the person who died are common, it is important to dig deeper to understand whether these are passive wishes or truly suicidal thoughts. Ask your child or teen if they are thinking about or have plans to kill themselves. If you are concerned, consult a qualified mental health professional. Are my children at higher risk for future problems because of this death? Due to factors such as genetics, learned behavior, and social environment, having a family member die by suicide may put children at greater risk for suicidal thoughts. However, when adults allow children to express their emotions, when they set consistent and clear boundaries, and when they meet their children’s cognitive and physical needs, children are likely to thrive, even in the face of grief.