We understand that one of the scariest and stressful challenges a parent can face is worrying that their teen may harm themselves. If you believe your child is at risk for harming themselves, please seek immediate help from a psychiatrist or therapist, who can take the necessary steps to ensure his or her safety. And, if your teen tells you they feel at risk for harming themselves, please take them to get professional help right away, where they can be protected and supported by professionals, during this vulnerable and scary time. If you’re not already working with a therapist or doctor that you trust, you can go to the closest hospital, and people there will be able to ensure your teen’s safety, as well as guide you through the next steps. Even amidst all the questions you still probably have, this is the first step in helping your teen. If anywhere along the way, you choose Paradigm for teen suicidal ideation treatment, we are here to answer questions and guide you, and support you, every step of the way.
It’s common for the days leading up to getting teen suicidal ideation treatment to be stressful and scary for teens as well as their families. The pressure and stress that parents can experience is overwhelming, especially as they try to judge whether their teens are safe and what steps need to be taken. It can also be challenging to discern whether a teen is suicidal, since symptoms related to depression can often overlap with those of other illnesses, making it difficult to understand where your teen is, emotionally. This is made even harder by the fact that the majority of teens struggling with suicidal thoughts are often secretive and elusive.
Signs of Teen Suicidal Ideation
If you are worried a teen might be suicidal, some of the warning signs that are important to notice, include:
- teens withdrawing from others and spending increasing amounts of time alone
- self-destructive behaviors with no apparent fear of risks involved
- extreme disruptions of sleep or eating habits
- drastic day-to-day mood changes
- and/or consistent depressive thoughts of dread or apathy toward life and/or fixation on death
Sometimes teens might also express wanting to die, even if it’s stated in a joking manner. In cases where teens don’t get treatment and continue to experience thoughts of suicide, usually thoughts will increase, and will gradually start to form a more detailed and specific plan about committing the act. Therefore, one of the most specific ways to determine a teen’s risk of committing a suicidal act is whether a teen already has a plan and/or means to complete the plan. With this said, we have worked with young people long enough to know that at times, they can be very difficult to read and very good at hiding what they’re feeling. This is why we always urge parents that if you are questioning the safety of your teen, it’s always best to contact a professional for help, so that you can have help and guidance as you figure out the best ways to support and protect your teen.
Teen Suicidal Ideation Treatment at Paradigm San Francisco
At Paradigm San Francisco, we provide Teen Suicidal Ideation Treatment in a comfortable, house-like residential setting. Our first goal of teen suicidal ideation treatment is always to ensure teens’ physical safety. Then, we immediately start having open conversations with the teens and family about what’s happening. We do this for several reasons, including that because secrecy and isolation is so connected to Suicidal Ideation, we want to immediately help teens begin talking openly about their thoughts and feelings, which often in and of itself can help to lessen the power and/or angst of those frightening thoughts. This processing also allows therapists the opportunity to spot any potential false beliefs, thought patterns, and/or behavioral patterns that may be contributing to, or exacerbating, teens’ current struggles. At the same time, these conversations also help parents and family members become equipped and empowered with knowledge about Suicidal Ideation from a more scientific perspective, so that we can at least help eliminate any unwarranted worries or fears that are due to false ideas or misconceptions.
Teen Suicidal Ideation usually includes depression or depression-like symptoms, which cause teens to have a tragic reaction to the stress they feel, which causes thoughts of taking their own lives. Suicidal Ideation and behavior can be described on a spectrum, ranging from occasional or fleeting thoughts of suicide to a person actually committing the act. Along these lines, it’s so important for both teens and parents to understand that the majority of people who suffer from suicidal thoughts at some point do not commit a suicidal act. Therefore, Suicidal thoughts do not determine a person’s fate or identity and teens experiencing suicidal thoughts at one time does not mean they’ll always struggle with them or even that they’ll always struggle with depression. Both depression and suicidal thoughts can surface and exist for an extremely complex combination of reasons and as such, it’s so important for teens to understand that these thoughts can and will pass and you can and will feel better. Be patient and kind to yourself, along the way.
At Paradigm San Francisco, all of our teen treatment plans are individually designed and so there is no one teen suicidal ideation treatment plan we use. With this said, we work closely with teens every day and incorporate a number of different therapeutic modalities, often which include a combination of therapy and medication. The cornerstone of our treatment plans are our individual therapy sessions, which teens have every day with their lead therapists. The focus of individual therapy work is for teens to do deeply introspective therapeutic work, including processing the underlying emotional needs that are causing their current struggles and symptoms. This may include things such as false belief systems, thought patterns, unconscious relational dynamics, past traumatic experiences, chronic stress, physical ailments, and/or many other sources. By helping teens to recognize the specific nature of their own patterns and experience, they can learn to change and overcome them.
The insights and progress from teens’ individual sessions are then woven into all other aspects of the teens’ treatment, so that allparts of treatment synergistically build off of one another. Throughout treatment, we also teach teens a number of healthy coping techniques, including things such as yoga, meditation, dietary changes, breathing exercises, and more. We find that as teens become more aware of their patterns and equipped with new choices they can make to change those patterns, they become emboldened to face their symptoms in a completely new and empowered way. In this sense, the goal of Teen Suicidal Ideation therapy is not just for teens to overcome suicidal thoughts, but to learn coping mechanisms and healthy behaviors that will allow them to successfully navigate all different challenges in their lives, in healthy ways, and profoundly improve teens’ ongoing overall quality of life.
If there is one thing we want to communicate to teens and parents of teens that are struggling with suicidal thinking, we want you to know there is hope and change is possible. Please reach out for teen suicidal ideation treatment now- a happy and healthy life is possible, starting today.