“Don’t forget who you are and where you came from. Don’t get too emotional over little things. Don’t quit until you win the grand prize” Robert Randle.
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Why Do Teenagers Think About Suicide?
Teenage is the period of major transitions in one’s life. With teenagers, changes occur in body structure, hormonal activity, and social roles, which may pose some challenges to a few teens and lead to suicidal ideation.
There are multiple factors that lead teenagers to suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts. These factors are categorized into four domains: personal, family, academic, and social.
– The personal domain includes temperament, self-esteem, coping skills, physical appearance, physical health, and biological functioning. Teens with difficult temperaments, low self-esteem, and poor coping skills are more prone to develop suicidal thoughts.
– The family domain includes a relationship with siblings and parents, family environment, the relationship between parents, and emotional and instrumental support from family members. Adolescents who witness an unhealthy relationship with their parents or if there is a divorce or separation may give rise to insecurity. They may develop feelings of ‘not belonging’, ‘hopelessness’, and ‘loneliness’ that may lead to teenagers with suicidal thoughts. Lack of support from family members and parents also can be an essential contributor to ideations.
– Sexual abuse can lead to suicidal ideation.
– The academic domain includes academic performance, grades, and satisfaction from subjects and fields. Teenagers who do not like their field of study or get poor grades in the class may also experience feelings of inefficacy, leading to suicidal thoughts.
– The social domain includes romantic relationships and support from friends and peers. Bullying by peers and lack of close friends can lead to suicidal ideation in adolescents.
– Many times a relationship breakup or crisis can be a major cause of suicidal ideation.
– Another reason can be the death of a close family member, friend, etc.
– Teenagers living alone and having little social connection have also increased the risk of suicidal ideation in Covid-19.
– A family history of suicide or severe mental illness independently affects the risk of self-destruction, which is greater when both factors are present.
– Suicide has a high linkage to mental disorders like depression, substance abuse, and psychosis.
What Can A Family Or Friend Help A Teenager With Suicidal Thoughts?
One of the leading causes of suicidal ideation and suicidal attempts is a lack of skillful coping methods. To deal with suicidal thoughts following strategies can be used by friends and family members:
– Do not discount the teenagers feelings of hopelessness.
– Talk with a non-judgmental ear.
– Ask open-ended questions. For example, ‘Tell me more about your feelings of committing suicide’
– Many people are scared to talk about suicide. They believe if they talk, the person will commit suicide. However, research says the reverse may be true. Let the teenager speak openly about their thoughts of self-destruction instead of letting them stay in their minds.
– Allow the teenager to share their feelings, positive and negative, with someone. It helps the individual to exhale out their inner stress. As a result of not allowing people to share their feelings, more stress and anxiety are built up, leading to psychological disturbance and suicidal ideation.
– A family member or friend can find out in what ways is the teenager planning to commit suicide.
– Understand the reasoning behind suicidal ideation. It can deep feelings of shame and guilt about their inability to face the situations and feelings of ‘not being in control’. Instead of discounting their feelings, it’s important to listen to them. Sometimes, a teenager is not seeking advice but someone they can trust with their innermost thoughts without being judged.
– Participate in joint activities like playing games, going for a walk, dancing, running, hiking, etc. Any physical activity helps to lessen suicidal ideation thoughts.
– Psychotherapy gives a safe platform for an adolescent to air out their innermost thoughts and beliefs. In Singapore, psychotherapy can be availed at private practices like Insightful Counselling or at subsidized centers like Family Service Centers, etc.
If the suicide is imminent, call an ambulance to rush them to IMH or call the police. Also, you can call Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) – 18002214444 (24 hours suicide crisis hotline)
Are Suicidal Thoughts And Depression Connected For A Teenager?
Suicidal thoughts and depression are closely related to one another. We can say that depression is the main leading cause of self-destruction thoughts.
How Can Teenagers Deal With Loneliness And Suicidal Thoughts?
Teens can deal with their loneliness and suicidal thoughts by joining the different societies on the internet as well as physical societies of their same interests. Moreover, they spend time with their friends and parents and engage in extracurricular activities, distracting them from their dangerous thoughts.
How Can Parents Helps Teenager Overcome Suicidal Thoughts?
Parents can adopt the following strategies if their child is experiencing suicidal ideation and does not share information with them.
– Create a friendly environment at home where the teen feels safe and supported.
– Spending most of their time with their child and discussing different topics helps teens gain confidence to talk to their parents about their problems.
– If teens disclose something to their parents, the parents should show empathy for the teen’s feelings, e.g., they say that they can understand the pain and what they are going through right now.
– Show interest while teens share something with you and act like you feel so glad that they share this with you.
– Try to adopt a healthy lifestyle in the home, have a proper diet and sleeping routine, and true family, get to gather are there; it helps the teens deal with their problems in a healthy way.
– Please consult with a mental health professional about the condition of your child in order to protect him from serious consequences.
How Can A Teenager Let The Therapist Know They Want To Commit Suicide?
It is important that when teens go to seek help from a mental health professional, they disclose all about their thoughts and answer the therapist’s questions honestly so that it helps the therapist conceptualize the problems of teens.
How Can A Therapist Help A Teenager?
The therapist is the mental health professional who assesses the teens’ problems and implements multiple interventions to manage these problems. Following measures, a therapist can use while dealing with a teenager with suicidal thoughts.
– A therapist needs to build trust with teens who have dangerous thoughts to feel comfortable and can talk freely about their problems with them.
– Next, the therapist works to conceptualize which area he faces problems that lead to suicidal thoughts based on his family, personal, and educational history.
– The therapist identifies the teen’s thoughts to determine the same theme he has in his mind and the distortions he is suffering from.
– The therapist asks a hierarchy of cross-questions to reach the core beliefs of the teens behind his thoughts.
– After that, the therapist challenges the teens’ maladaptive beliefs and develops a more adaptive one in place for them about self, the world, and others.
– The therapist also helps the teens develop healthy coping skills to deal with their problems.
– The problem solving is also administered by the therapist in teens.
It is concluded from the above discussion that to deal with the suicidal ideation of teens, the strategies should be used at the level at person’s level, parents’ level, and the therapist’s level, and all of this can help the teens to override their suicidal thoughts.