Rosa had been a foster mother to dozens of children with many problems, but Jorge was the saddest. Each time she asked him a question, he gave a despondent “I don’t care.”
One day, Rosa walked into the kitchen and saw Jorge holding a large knife.
Instead of panicking, Rosa walked up to Jorge and took the knife away from him. She returned it to the cabinet drawer. Then Rosa sat Jorge down and explained that he wasn’t the first foster child she had cared for who felt like killing himself. She told him she wanted to keep him safe. Jorge began to cry and agreed to go with her to the emergency room.
While Rosa’s response was helpful, not every foster parent can support a foster child who is harboring suicidal thoughts.
That’s why EDC’s Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) recently produced a guide that teaches foster parents how to help and support children who are suicidal. As part of an SPRC series about suicide prevention customized for various audiences, What Foster Parents Can Do to Prevent Suicide teaches parents the warning signs and risk factors of suicide, and connects them with resources, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and websites that provide information about foster parenting and issues young people face.
Foster children are nearly four times more likely to attempt suicide than other young people.
When you consider the fact that foster children are nearly four times more likely to attempt suicide than other young people, it’s no surprise that SPRC chose foster children as the focus of a suicide prevention guide.
“Youth in foster care are at much higher risk than other young people for school dropout, homelessness, and suicidal behavior,” says EDC’s Anara Guard. “Foster parents face challenges in providing these high-risk youth with the care and support they need.”
Originally published on July 20, 2011