Not very many people talk about teen suicide, but it is a problem. And, with the existence of “suicide rings” on the Internet, it is something that is becoming increasingly glamorized. Additionally, the pressures of being a teenager today can cause depression and lead to suicide. If you are worried that your teenager is suicidal, or if he or she has attempted suicide in the past, it may be a good idea to find a treatment program for teen suicide.
Factors to consider in treatment for suicidal teens
It is important to realize that each teenager has his or her own case, and his or her own needs. Before committing to one suicide treatment plan over another, it is important to carefully consider the following factors:
•How dangerous and apparent are the teen’s suicidal tendencies?
•Has the teenager made one or more attempts at suicide?
•Do you feel it likely that a suicide attempt is possible in the future?
•What is the overall health of the suicidal teen?
•What sort of tolerance does the teen have for being away from home, taking medications, or engaging in therapy?
Only when you have answered these questions can you begin to put together a suicidal teen treatment plan or choose an appropriate program. Often, your family doctor or a psychologist can help you decide the best path to choose when deciding between treatment programs for teen suicide.
Treatment program options for suicidal teens
There are different options available in terms of treatment programs for suicidal teens. They are broken down into psychiatric therapy, residential treatment facility and therapeutic boarding school. Each has different features. Study each option carefully to help you choose what would work best for your suicidal teen.
Psychiatric therapy consists of working with a counselor in order to change the way a teenager thinks and feels – and reacts to the world. This type of therapy usually allows suicidal teens to stay at home and continue going to school. A professional may teach coping techniques and help the teenager learn to better handle stressful situations that may trigger depression and/or suicidal thoughts.
This therapy can be done individually, with only the teenager attending session, or it can be done with the family. Family therapy can actually be quite helpful, as it provides support for the teenager, and can help the family better learn techniques that can help the teen.
Residential treatment facilities provide on-site long-term care. Teenagers who may have made an attempt at suicide, or who seem on the verge of such an attempt, can be sent to these facilities to help them. They usually stay anywhere from a few weeks to as long as 12 months. Medical and psychiatric professionals are available all the time, and the teenager is cared for and watched to prevent suicide attempts. Detox programs are provided for those who are addicted to substances.
Often, the living arrangements allow for the teenager to interact with others who understand them. Support groups are usually provided, and any care that is needed is readily accessible. It can help in some cases if the family sets up regular visits to show support.
Therapeutic boarding schools offer long-term treatment and living arrangements while providing an education. Most residential treatment facilities do not provide academic programs. Therapeutic boarding schools ensure that suicidal teens keep up with their schoolwork, even while they learn to cope with their thoughts.
Most therapeutic boarding schools feature teachers and counselors that are certified psychiatric professionals. They can teach teenagers to cope in a supportive learning environment. Many of these boarding schools provide extracurricular activities in order to encourage teenagers to expand their horizons. However, these schools may not be open during the summer.
Supporting suicidal teens
No matter which of the treatment programs for suicidal teens that you choose, you will find that your support is crucial. It is important for you to make yourself available for your child to talk to. Additionally, you need to make sure that you are showing love and acceptance. You support and love may make a material difference in your teenager s recovery.
If you need help as well, you can look for a support group that caters to family members of depressed and suicidal individuals. It is important for you to get the support you need as well. In the end, a suicidal teen is a family issue. It is important to get everyone involved in helping to promote the harmony and healing of the household.
Centers for Disease Control, “teen suicides report” [online]
National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), [online]