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Depression, clinically referred to as major depressive disorder (MDD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), and is characterized by persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities. The symptoms of depression can vary from mild to severe. 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 depressed teen struggling with thoughts of suicide. However, the ever-changing nature of teenagers can make it difficult to distinguish between behaviors associated with typical teenage insecurities and those that may be indicative of a depressed, suicidal teen. Further, it is not uncommon for young people with suicidal ideation to keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves. There are a variety of easily accessible, discrete suicide prevention resources (e.g., the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, the Suicide Prevention Resource Guide, and more) available to those in need.


The best way to help a teenager avoid a suicide attempt is to be aware of the risk factors, recognize warning signs, and provide them with ample, professional support as soon possible. To learn how to effectively cope with the symptoms of depression, including suicidal ideation, a teen will likely require formal mental health treatment. A customized treatment plan will be developed that is expressly informed by the teenager’s nuanced mental health needs. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) underscores various components that may make up one’s treatment plan for a teenager struggling with depression and suicidal ideation, which typically include a combination of different psychotherapeutic approaches and in some cases, medication. Common therapeutic modalities that may make up a teenager’s treatment plan could include one or more of the following: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), expressive arts therapy, family therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), and mind-body activities. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two medications that can be used for the treatment of teenage depression, which include Lexapro (generically: escitalopram) and Prozac (generically: fluoxetine). Early intervention, family support, and professional assistance can be invaluable to one’s safety and long-term 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, 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.

OUR KNOWLEDGEABLE ADMISSIONS TEAM CAN BE REACHED 24/7 AT INFO@PACIFICRTC.COM OR CALL: 800-531-5769 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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