How To Cope With Suicidal Thoughts
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.” 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. To help a teen cope with suicidal thoughts, it is imperative to be aware of warning signs. There are several warning signs that could be indicative of a teenager with suicidal thoughts. Below are examples of some of the warning signs of suicidal ideation in a teen, provided by Stanford Children’s Health:
- Giving possessions away without reason
- Engaging in risky and or self-destructive behaviors
- Developing personality changes
- Extreme mood swings
- Social isolation
- Regularly talking about death
- Shift in sleeping patterns
- Change in diet
- Feeling trapped or hopeless
The Mayo Clinic explains that there are tendencies among those at risk for suicide, including anger, irritability, loss of interest in activities, changes in academic performance, withdrawal, and comments about death and dying, being worthless or feeling depressed.
What To Do
There are different ways to help a teen cope with suicidal thoughts and to help prevent suicide. Consider the following suggestions:
- Acknowledge negative feelings and provide support: in moments when your teenager opens up about going through a rough time, make sure to listen, validate, honor, and provide spiritual and personal support.
- Be honest: share some challenges you experienced as a teen and how you overcame them.
- Promote social connectivity: encourage your teen to connect with peers. Hanging out with other people can help assuage loneliness.
- Help your teen find ways to express themselves: not all teens will respond to verbally processing their feelings, rather many teens lean towards creative outlets (e.g., music, dance, drawing, painting, etc.) to process and express their emotions.
Keep an eye on your teen’s behaviors and be aware of any noticeable differences that may indicate a need for additional support. There are a variety of options for teens who may benefit from a formal treatment program. At Pacific Teen Treatment, we offer a residential treatment program that utilizes a variety of therapeutic approaches. We are keenly aware of the fact that every teenager deeply benefits from a customized and tailored treatment plan, which we carefully develop for each of our clients. Certain therapeutic modalities that are commonly integrated into treatment plans at Pacific Teen Treatment include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), psychodynamic psychotherapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), expressive arts therapies, and more. It is essential for a young person to feel safe when exploring his or her emotions and/ or experiences that have led to his or her suicidal thoughts. Our treatment facility provides a safe and healing environment, to allow each young person the ability dedicate all his or her attention and energy to the treatment process.
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.
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