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How To Motivate A Depressed Suicidal Teenager?

How To Motivate A Depressed Suicidal Teenager?

Teenagers are fraught with intense and far-ranging emotions as adolescence forces them to grow physically, mature emotionally, experience surging hormones, and are faced with a sudden newfound need for autonomy. All while having to develop new stress management skills, as their pre-adolescent emotional coping mechanisms quickly become outdated and ineffective. It is normal for situations that are stressful, painful, and/ or difficult to elicit fluctuating emotions. However, when a young person consistently lacks the ability to emotionally recover in an appropriate timeframe and experiences severe and extended time periods of debilitating sadness, he or she may be struggling with depression. Depression is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life. 

A common symptom of depression is suicidal ideation. An article in the National Library of Medicine explains that “suicidal ideation (SI), often called suicidal thoughts or ideas, is a broad term used to describe a range of contemplations, wishes, and preoccupations with death and suicide.” There are several warning signs that could be exhibited by a teen struggling with thoughts of suicide. However, the ever-changing nature of teenagers can make it can be difficult to distinguish between behaviors associated with typical teenage insecurities and those that may be indicative of a depressed, suicidal teen. When a teenager is struggling with depression consider providing support through the following suggestions:

  • Make sure to express sincere concern without judgment for your teen’s wellbeing.
  • Display acts that show your unconditional love for your teenager.
  • Maintain open lines of communication.
  • Gently encourage your teen to practice healthy daily habits, even if it is simply leading by example: engage in regular physical activity, obtain ample sleep, eat nutritiously, etc. 
  • Be compassionate and kind. 
  • Know that recovering from depression does not necessarily have a linear trajectory; have patience. 

As a parent, it is important to be aware of your own limitations and recognize that your teen may be dealing with certain issues that extend beyond your abilities, such as suicidal ideation. Young people may have suicidal thoughts that can range from fleeting thoughts to planning out the way in which one wants to end his or her life. There are a plethora of highly qualified professionals available that have extensive experience, expert knowledge, and specialize in working with adolescent clientele struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. The best way to help a suicidal teen is to be able to recognize the warning signs and ultimately obtain professional guidance. Early intervention, family support, and professional assistance can be invaluable to a suicidal, depressed teenager’s recovery.

For Information and Support 

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, in the long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.


We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding mental health treatment and our residential program, anytime. Contact us today using the form to the right.

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