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What do you do when your child says their life is not worth living?

These are words every parent never wants to hear. It is naturally very distressing to see your child unhappy but it is important to remember that most children say these things at some time. For the majority of these children these words are just their way of communicating their struggle to manage the negative thoughts and emotions they experience as they process life experiences. It is rare that this lack of self-worth leads to anything more alarming. However, supporting your child to manage these negative thoughts is an important life skill.

Negative thoughts and emotions can be helpful in processing things that make us unhappy particularly when we can not control or do anything about it. It is the first stage in learning to accept things, ignore or at least move on. It becomes a problem when you can't escape these negative thoughts and are unable to move forward.


Many children may say things like "I wish I was dead" without really meaning they want to be dead. This article is intended for these children. It is not for those with serious suicidal thoughts. You should seek professional help if your child displays behaviour indicating a real intention to end their life. If urgent contact the emergency services.