Threats of suicide

Hi there,
I posted before christmas about my 19 difficult child who was depressed and said he didnt want to come home for xmas and wanted to stay in halls alone with no food or facilities for cooking. Not sure if you remember, ?? Also posted about his previous depression and feelings of suicide. Dispite all my efforts he refused and still refuses help/medication, and counselling. Your replies were very very helpfull and I have been reading books and info on detachment and it makes a great deAl of sense. I have been trying to implement changes , although these are limited coz he is away from home at uni. My question is he has these flips where he is ok for a while then out the blue will send me a text saying something really worrying, the latest being that he feels like drinking bleach! Now part of me wonders if he is looking for a reaction from me. Its like he wants to get into a sort of debate with me and then say really hurtfull things to me, this has happened before. I am learning this and on NYE i had a bit of a party and he stayed in his room but then sent me an abusive text as if he wanted attention. I ignored his text. He then went outside and into the shed and sat in the dark???!!! Wierd I know, unfortunatly my husband happeded to go outside and saw the shed unlocked and locked him him!. Somehow he managed to get out and made a fuss about being locked in. I was really embarressed all this in front of all my friends. I just said to him, if u want to go and sit in the dark in the shed in the middle of the night again let us know and we wont lock u in!!! Thats all i said...the next am he was fine as if nothing had happened. Now i have the bleach situation? I am just not sure how to handle this. He knows that since my dad and grandfather both committed suicide it is a very difficult thing for me to hear. I just said to him would he like me to call and we can chat he just said No! Is this a serious suicide threat???? Is this just attention seeking??? Is he just trying to get a reaction out of me?? Any advice on how I should handle this would be much appreciated.


one day at a time
Every time he threatens suicide, call the police.

Only good can come from this action. He will be evaluated and treated in the er and/or If it is a bid for attention he will finally stop doing it.

Be consistent and then tell him firmly and kindly what you will do.

With my son I did this several times before the threats stopped.

Warm hugs.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
I recall your story. Your son decided to come home for the holiday.

You are in the UK, so the resources we have here are not available for you, however, you may want to do some research and see if you have anything there like NAMI, here. NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They have many chapters and offer very good courses for us parents on how to deal with our troubled kids. There may be something like that for you. In the absence of that, you may want to find a counselor for you to learn coping skills, to get support in detaching, to have a place to vent and express yourself and for guidance.

Other parents here who face their kids threatening self destructive acts or suicide often call the authorities immediately. If it is a ploy for attention, it will likely stop when the authorities show up. Then you have taken action in case it is serious and he learns that you will take action each and every time he makes those kinds of threats.

Even when our kids are mentally challenged they are often quite manipulative, very bright and know right from wrong. You are the one being dragged around by his whims and behaviors. It is exhausting. That's why I believe in getting professional help for YOU. He may not get himself help, but you can get help for YOU. That support will allow you to make the changes that are necessary for us to have our own lives back even when our kids live in drama and chaos. It is not easy, but it is doable.

There is no way for us to know if it is a serious suicide threat or attention seeking........he may not even know........but if you let him know that every single time he makes those kinds of threats that you will call the authorities, you will really have done all you can do. I am sorry to say this, but if he indeed is ever going to commit suicide, there is really no way you can stop that. None of us can. All you can do is call in the authorities and get as much support for yourself so that you can make the choices you need to make to keep yourself healthy. You have no control over his actions. You didn't cause this and you can't fix it. Only he can. But in the meantime, he can take all the air out of your life and leave you depleted and exhausted from his behaviors. Take care of yourself. Get support. Keep posting and reading books. Call the authorities when you have to. And begin putting the focus on yourself and taking it off of him. Hang in there. We're here if you need us. You're not alone.


Well-Known Member
Why take a chance? Every time my son threatens suicide, I call 911, which is the emergency line and tell them my son is a threat to kill himself. He doesn't say that anymore. Ever.

I don't really believe MY son means it. He never tried it and it is not in my family. Could be that your son is "playing you" because he knows it will terrify you. It could be serious though and why take a chance?

My own personal experience with people who have done this (all of them were acquaintances of my children, not friends of mine) is that my kids were shocked when it happened as the person never mentioned suicide to anybody. But that doesn't mean it always happens that way.
Thank you everyone. Next time he says it I will tell him if he means this I will have to inform the police. Thank you for your advice much appreciated and I value your experienced opinion.

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
Every time he threatens suicide, call the police.

I agree. This is for your child's safety, but it is also for stopping the game, for stopping the blackmail. This must be tearing you apart. It's like he's holding you hostage with his life.

I am so sorry this is happening.

I have always believed we have the right to end our lives if we choose to. It is an interesting thing then that though difficult child daughter threatens and attempts suicide...I never hear about it until later. There is no FOG surrounding that issue, for me, so it must not be one of my triggers.

Just an observation.

She does blackmail me in the ways I am susceptible to.

Cedar, you are so right it does feel like he is holding me hostage with his life. He is very coy as well he says he is thinking about 'drinking bleach' not that he is actually going to drink bleach. Unfortunately it is still enough to pull my strings! but I now have a plan the next time he tries it...


Well-Known Member
Since his goal is probably to get you to offer him money, a place to stay, or some other gift, once you call 911 he may never threaten to kill himself again. I had to do it three times. I didn't even respond. I hung up and called 911. He was FURIOUS! I said, "You expect me to just let you kill yourself?" He said, "I didn't really mean it. I was just mad." He said it all three times and I told him that if he didn't want me to call 9-1-1, don't say it.

It's been a long time now and he has never tried to kill himself nor has he threatened to.

In the end, we can't stop them if they REALLY want to. That is out of our hands. You know your son best. I am pretty sure my son is just trying to make me feel sorry for him when he says that.