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Sadness, Hopelessness, & Self-Injury

Created on August 5, 2017. Last updated on March 6th, 2024 at 04:52 pm

Self-Injurious Thoughts and Behaviors logoSadness and hopelessness are felt by children and adolescents for many different reasons.  For example, it can be expected that youth will experience a temporary period of sadness in response to a disappointing grade or fight with a friend, or grief following the loss of a family member or friend.  But if your child seems to be struggling more than would be expected and his/her feelings of sadness or hopelessness occur with little interruption for longer than two weeks this may be a sign of one of the mental health conditions below.

Sometimes, these symptoms and challenging life circumstances can lead children and adolescents to have thoughts of death or even harming themselves.  This is a serious sign that your child needs help.  Ultimately, if you have any immediate concerns about the safety of your child or adolescent, do not hesitate to call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.  This will help keep them safe, as well as assist you with getting connected to care (or more care) as quickly as possible.

You can read about each disorder and the known effective treatments by following the links below.


If you have questions about your child’s behavior or symptoms, please seek the advice of a clinical child and adolescent psychologist. You can find a directory here.

Partner Sites:

Evidence-based Services Committee of Hawaii