On February 13, 2016, Sue Klebold, mother of Columbine High School shooter Dylan Klebold, gave her first television interview to ABC 60 minutes. In this interview, Sue Klebold stated she “did not recognize the signs” of her son displaying his internal emotions and mental distress. She described and discussed her concerns regarding his changes in personality and demeanor, but stated she felt he was “simply being a teenager.” As the interview continued, several professionals, including Clinical Psychologists and Child Psychologists, discussed the signs of Depression and Suicide. Sue Klebold has now released her memoirs (A Mother’s Reckoning) regarding this situation and her thoughts along with her views, continuing to state she feels there was more she could have done. Throughout this interview and the book, it was obvious the warning signs were not viewed nor were they taken seriously, by his mother or other family members.
As parents, friends, and family members, it is important that we ask questions and notice changes in other individuals. I understand, we all have our own lives to live and it is difficult at times to communicate effectively with others who are not willing to communicate back, but that is when we seek help from a professional. Please know that it is okay to ask. Please ask your friend or family member if they are suicidal or depressed, because it could save their life. Below is a list of warning signs to be mindful of:
Signs and symptoms of depression include:
Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Appetite or weight changes
- Sleep changes
- Anger or irritability
- Loss of energy
- Reckless behavior
Warning Signs of Suicide
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
- Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
- Talking about being a burden to others.
From personal experience, I cannot encourage you enough to educate yourself on different warning signs and be open to researching what you notice. It’s okay to recommend seeking help from a professional or even going to a professional for advice in different situations, and it is important to avoid self-diagnosing from information you find or advice you receive. Allow a professional to help guide you or another individual in the right direction for treatment. Being proactive is the key to helping each other. Take the time to listen to your instincts, listen to your internal thoughts, listen to your heart/mind, and act appropriately to what you feel has the ability to benefit another or yourself. Simply, take the time to listen entirely and pay attention to the small changes.
Empower Behavioral Health BLOG Series
by Monretta Vega, LPC, NCC