A study published in JAMA Network Open reveals that children who suffered from emotional, sexual, and physical abuse are five times more likely to take their own lives than those who haven’t experienced child abuse. Research also shows that alcoholism and drug use can likely be the victim’s ways of coping. However, there is still a higher likelihood of adult survivors committing suicide regardless of any alcohol or drug dependency.
Almost 70% of people who attempt suicide or have suicidal ideation have been abused as a child. The suicide risk increases exponentially as the survivor grows older. The effects of neglect and abuse stretch their tentacles deep into the adult years. Survivors who struggle to cope with the emotional, mental, and even physical wounds are in danger of succumbing to destructive thought patterns.
One in every three adults has experienced child abuse. The increasing rate of suicide cases has only increased in the past decade.
Suicide is a plague in society everyone must address. It is essential to prevent child abuse and neglect early on.
What to do?
Tell Someone Right Away
Having a confidante can mean life and death to a child. Encourage children to have a trusted adult in which they can talk to when something is going on at home. Kids in an abusive environment must be taken out of that situation as soon as possible. Child abuse comes in different types. One might not even realize they are being abused.
Parents, guardians, and children must be educated on the different forms of abuse. Education on child abuse empowers children to speak up for themselves and let trusted adults know about their situation. Having the right information also encourages adults to take the right actions once they start seeing signs of abuse. Remember, if you suspect any type of maltreatment, make a report to your local Department of Social Services or Police Department.
Trauma survivors tend to withdraw from others. This knee-jerk reaction only serves to isolate people and make things worse. While it might feel like going against every instinct, child abuse victims must open up and talk to people. Forge deep connections by maintaining relationships and asking for help should the occasion arise. Talking to trusted people and joining support groups can help a lot in coping later on in life.
If you notice a change in the behavior of a friend (or yourself) or have other concerns, it's time to seek help. Do not put it off!
Developing out-of-control emotions, warped perceptions, and unhealthy defense mechanisms are some of the things survivors face. They must remember that the path to healing isn’t always linear. It is a rocky and challenging path. However, just because it is difficult doesn’t automatically mean it is impossible. Taking one step at a time and celebrating victories, no matter how small, can help overcome childhood trauma.
Traumatic experiences during childhood can lead to negative and devastating consequences that can be felt for a long time. Victims of sexual, physical, or verbal abuse are five times more likely to commit suicide. They are more vulnerable to destructive thought patterns that can follow them well into their adult years. Preventing child abuse and providing the right support for survivors must be one of society’s most significant priorities.