At my grandson’s high school, three of his classmates committed suicide this year. He is confused and upset and when he comes over to help me with yard work every weekend, he tells me he can’t sleep and cries when he is alone at night. He keeps asking me for advice but I have no idea how to help him. What would you suggest?
It is so sad to hear about the loss of those young lives. Many teens are being personally affected by classmates who are suffering from depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or actions, or other mental health issues so they need help to cope with their exposure to these troubled teens.
The fact that your grandson is talking to you about his emotional pain is actually very good. It shows that he trusts you and knows he can be honest with you. It is important to communicate to him that his feelings are valid and that you want to be there to support him and listen to him.
However, it also sounds like it might be helpful for your grandson to talk with a counselor, and you can offer to help him find some resources to help him. A good place to start would be his high school. Most have counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists that can provide a good assessment of your grandson and provide free counseling at school or referrals to counselors in his community that have experience working with teenagers. Youth pastors and parents of his friends may also be able to provide some referrals.
Many kids are afraid to go to a counselor the first time so you can let him know that a parent or you could accompany him to the first session if he wants that. Keep listening to him and letting him know that it is healthy for him to talk honestly about how he is feeling.