KEEP WATCH: Psychologists recommend parents help children see ways of finding a solution.
KEEP WATCH: Psychologists recommend parents help children see ways of finding a solution. Iain Curry

Parents concerned by suicide, here's what you need to know

GIVE your children a sense of hope.

These are key words of advice from psychologist Mark Cary, who said the teenager's death could spur a range of emotions in the community.

Anger, sadness, depression and confusion were among a range of feelings Mr Cary said young people may be feeling as they try to make sense of the recent tragedy.

Mr Cary said it was important for parents to tell their children no problem was "too big to solve".

"When (young people) get depressed we see all sorts of changes in their personality. They start to not look after themselves, become withrawn, can eat less, have poor sleep, stop mixing with their family or friends," he said.

"A person can develop suicidal thinking when they feel there is little hope of fixing an issue."

Mr Cary said parents should demonstrate they share their children's concerns and that there are ways of addressing the issue.

"It's always important to encourage a sense of hope and a view that things can be solved," he said.

"If you know a child is having suicidal thoughts, keep an eye on them.

"Spend a lot of time with them and try to be around them."

Kaitlyn's sister Shardae Ros said in hindsight there were small signs the Stanthorpe 16-year-old was becoming withdrawn, but she did not realise the extent of her issues.

"We would ask her what was wrong and she would say nothing and just go off into her room," Shardae said.

Mother of two Hayley Latham said it was "scary" for parents to think their child might not communicate their problems.

"Especially if they won't open up - you don't know where they are at in their mind," she said.

As someone who raised a transgender child who faced bullying, Mrs Latham said her main concern as a parent was preventing her son from taking his own life.

"I experienced first-hand how bullying could could affect his emotional state and mental health."

Mr Cary said friends could grieve Kaitlyn by planting a tree, lighting a candle or taking positive action.

If you or someone you know need help, 24/7 support is available. Phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800, or visit kidshelpline.com.au


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