My 12 year old niece wants to commit suicide. What can I do to help her?

Discussion in 'Help Me! I Need to Talk to Someone.' started by ShadowsWithinMe, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. My brother, his fiancee, and 3 kids live in my house (not including my crazy grandma, 9 people in a three bedroom home). Her and her mom fight. Every. Single. Day. Her mom shouts at her at the top of lungs/insults her, my niece mostly just backs down. If it's not about her problems, it's about how she can't get along with her four year old brother who throws screaming fits (when he can't have something he wants, which is reinforced by giving him what he wants). Also there's an 11 month old.

    My niece is sometimes really hurt by words ("stupid, worthless, a mistake, etc". Things of that nature.). I've told her to just be strong and not try to be vulnerable in front of her mom. My brother sometimes does odd things, like random punishment over trivial matters, but doesn't insult her and usually takes care of the kids everyday, even after work. He is definitely a better parent than she is.

    I've known that my niece has symptoms of depression for months (having been through it myself), but family doesn't seem to notice (I cannot go to my parents about this because they would not even get me help for my issues, thankfully I do not have them any more. They do not want me to become addicted to drugs that make things worse or whatever. It's not that they're bad parents, they just wanted to find alternative solutions). Yesterday, my niece asked me to help her end her life. I knew she thought about suicide sometimes but I didn't realize it was that bad. I nearly called the police because I had no idea what to do anymore. I too have almost committed suicide in my past, but in my teen years.

    Obviously I cannot take her to a counselor without her parents' consent, and they don't realize there's a problem.

    Any advice? What would you do in a situation like this? I'd love to be able to get a quick response so I can stop worrying about her so much.

    Thank you!
  2. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    I looked at your profile. You are only 17 yourself. I'm sorry you're going through something like this and at such a young age.

    You could try to tell your brother and his fiancee what your niece has said to you. They might stop what they're doing if they see how it as affecting the whole family, especially your young niece. Another option, because at 17, you might not be considered an independent adult in your own right, YOU could go to a school counselor or call a crisis line to talk about how this situation is affecting you, and that would alert people that something is going on. Many places have mandated reporters who MUST report to the authorities if anything even sounds suspicious or abusive towards a minor. It triggers an investigation, which could help your niece.

    I think maybe it would be good to speak to a trusted adult - a school counselor, a friend's parent, a member of the clergy in a local church/temple.

    If your niece is actually discussing a method, time, place and has access to the method, maybe it would be good to call 911 if she has a method and plan and is ready to try things.

    I hope things improve.
    Thauoy and electricalanomaly like this.

  3. Hi, thank you for your advice and help. I feel that if I go directly to her parents I will not be allowed to ever be around her, and considering I am the only friend she has (they'd moved recently and every one of us is homeschooled, so there's no way I could ever reach out in that way without damaging trust), I feel like that would definitely not help her in the end. It is a possibility, of course, but my own parents are not aware there is a problem, so how might hers respond? At this point, there is no person in my entire community that is involved with my family enough to have a say and know what's going on. We're isolated, I feel.

    Another thing I worry about is whether an investigation WOULD help us. My brother is trying to get a job again, my grandmother does not get along well with anyone in my family (and would definitely say ANYTHING to make all of us look like the bad guys), my mom and dad both work, and we can hardly find the time or money to go to the doctor or do things as a family. If I had a place to turn to, I would go there. I just don't know what the best place is at the moment, and the least likely to push her over the edge. She isn't allowed to do much of anything outside of home because of problems with schooling (she is a year behind), and I would gladly take her places we'd like to go (her and I go to church sometimes, my family is not religious, only I am), but I cannot drive.

    She did not discuss a method with me, but I know she has nearly runaway on short notice and would not be surprised if she did the job quickly. She's a smart girl, and I don't doubt her ability to do such a thing without telling anyone.

  4. ashleyneedshope29

    ashleyneedshope29 Active Member

    Just keep being there for her because she really needs someone who will listen and care. Have you tried talking to her mother about the way she speaks to her to try to smooth things a little bit.
    Thauoy likes this.
  5. Hi, thank you for responding.

    I don't know that I have a place to "correct" her speech. She too may have mental issues and that is definitely not helping the situation. I don't really know her well enough to really talk to her about it. I'm even sure I know my own brother well enough to be brave enough to do so.
  6. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    SWM, I think your position is a tough one. No solution is perfect in this case.

    If you cannot go directly to your niece's parents, then please go to another adult who can step in to help your niece. Your niece and even you (because you're technically a minor in most countries) are not supposed to be making things right for the adults in your life. The adults who are your caregivers are supposed to be making your life and your niece's go well. If an investigation would disrupt things, perhaps use that idea and explain to your brother and his fiancée that if they are not willing to help your niece, they are not leaving you with any choice EXCEPT to involve the authorities.

    I hope you find an adult who can help you with this. Let us know how it's going. *hug*
  7. Striking

    Striking Well-Known Member

    You cannot keep this to yourself and you should go to everyone who will help, not just one person. It's not a burden you should carry alone.

    If you want to try other options first. Tell the parents how it would make you feel if someone talked to you that way, without mentioning your niece. Explain why it would be damaging to your well-being to be talked to in that way. Give suggestions of other ways to communicate. See if it changes over a week, no longer than a week.

    In the meantime talk with your niece daily about what she's thinking and feeling. Give her positive reinforcement. Keep a careful eye on her for odd behavior and report it right away to her parents, ambulance/fire dept, just don't leave her alone until some help arrives.

  8. Thank you. I will.
    Striking likes this.
  9. Striking

    Striking Well-Known Member

    Come back again if you need us. Remember it is better to error on the side of concern and caution in these matters. Let the professionals do their thing.
  10. Leilabelle

    Leilabelle New Member

    I think she needs a little space of her own, is there a place she can have? In the attic even? (Obviously if it's easily accessible) just for her... Where she could have a quilt or a beanbag and some books or music..
  11. Sorry for the late reply. I live in a house that's meant for four people, and we have ten. So no, there's not much room, and she doesn't really have her own space.

    We are trying to clean up an area in the basement for her, but it's not a "bedroom."

    Thank you though.
  12. moxman

    moxman I am proud to call Rosie, my best friend =) Forum Pro

    hello shadows,

    It is good to hear from you. I just wish it was under better circumstances. I am here if you ever want to chat.

    Feel free to PM/IM me anytime.

    I care for you girly

    Take Care of Yourself, your niece needs you, she is lucky to have you. I think you are a very good person.
  13. AlexiMarie7

    AlexiMarie7 Well-Known Member

    Hi Shadows,

    I hope your niece is doing okay, and I'm glad she has you for an aunt.

    Maybe if she raises this again, or at some time, you might be willing to tell your niece that you went through a rough time as well but that the feelings are no longer there. As she is young, I'm not sure how much detail could be given but it may be a source of hope for her knowing that some she is in close contact with who loves her, understands and has overcome same or similar situations/feelings.

    On a more sort of ongoing basis, can you try to counter the negative talk she gets from her mom? Praise her for things she does, or just tell her positive things about her, in general, maybe with hugs.
    I hope you can take her to church with you more, not only for the church part itself, but as a way to get her out of the environment for a breather at at least.

    Did you manage to tell any adult about this?

    I'm sorry you're in such a challenging spot but I'm truly glad your niece has you in her life.
  14. moxman

    moxman I am proud to call Rosie, my best friend =) Forum Pro

    maybe your niece could join SF, and we could help both of you? maybe she could open up about problems/feelings you don't know about.

    just a thought

    You are doing a wonderful job helping her out