Treating Teens With Suicidal Ideation

Suicidal Ideation

No parent wants to imagine that their teen may be contemplating suicide, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the third leading cause of death among children ages 10-24. Even more teens struggle with suicidal ideation, leading to hundreds of thousands attempted suicides a year.

Yet even with that information readily available, many people are unaware of how essential treatment is for troubled teens who are struggling with suicidal ideation.

Serious Nature Of Teen Suicidal Ideation

There are still some people who insist that teens really don’t have it that bad and teenage suicidal ideation is just a ploy for attention. But what these people don’t consider is this—even if a teen’s suicidal ideation is a cry for attention, it is a form of reaching out we should always take seriously because things have clearly taken a turn for the worse if this is how a depressed teen is asking for help and attention.

Researchers studying depression and anxiety in teens developed a study which examined the cyclical nature of suicidal ideation. Below is a visual of the model they developed.

(Source: Anxiety and Depression Association of America)

According to the researchers behavioral model, multiple things feed into a teen’s suicidal ideation. For an example of how this can work, take a 15-year-old girl who struggles with social anxiety and depression.

Say she saw on Instagram that her friends all went out together but had not invited her, acting as the trigger for her cognitive distortion, creating the thought that everyone secretly hates her. This reaction is clearly over-the-top, which feeds into the emotional dysregulation part of the cycle. The girl may attempt to cope with her feeling by restricting food intake and cutting, engaging in maladaptive behaviors which can easily lead to suicidal ideation and an eventual suicide attempt.

As you can see, suicidal ideation is a mental, behavioral, and emotion cycle which feeds on itself. Breaking this cycle requires the help of professional treatment.

What Suicidal Ideation Treatment Is Available For Teens

An effective cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) trained therapist may be able to help a teen struggling with suicidal ideation. However, some suicidal teens have other behavioral issues which can interfere with the help of your average professional, ranging from substance abuse to delinquency.

If that is the case for your teen, a more intensive therapeutic environment may be required to help your teen break free.

Types Of Troubled Teen Programs Which Help Suicidal Teens

The average troubled teen program such as a youth boot camp or wilderness program is not equipped to help a teen with suicidal ideation as there is no therapy built into these programs. Instead, there are two types of troubled teen programs which are suited to help a troubled teen—residential treatment centers and therapeutic boarding schools.

In these environments, teens live away from home under the guidance of a staff of trained professionals who have worked extensively with troubled adolescents. Multiple types of therapy are built into the daily schedule, ranging from one-on-one sessions with a therapist to group therapy where the teens can learn to support each other in healthy and productive ways.

There are also weekly family therapy sessions to help family members to reconnect with their troubled teen and work through difficult subjects with the help of the teen’s therapist.

Teens also stay engaged in their academics and learn life skills they have missed as they struggled with suicidal ideation. To further their personal development, most residential treatment center and therapeutic boarding schools emphasize community service, personal reflection time and the faith practices their parents prefer. All this is down while under the care of an attentive staff. Immersed in a healthy, supportive and therapeutic environment, teens can learn to overcome their suicidal ideation.

Finding The Right Place For Your Struggling Teen

To help your teen overcome their struggles with suicidal ideation and build up their mental and emotional strength, it is important that they have the right environment with trained professionals to support them through their journey. Depending on your teen’s needs and your family’s preferences, different residential treatment centers and therapeutic boarding schools may appeal.

Here at Help Your Teen Now, you can contact us for professional and parental insight into the various troubled teen programs which are available. We offer our services for free, as we are also parents who are committed to the health of the future generation and want to help as many families as possible. So, if you need help finding the right place for your troubled teen and need someone to talk over your options, we are here to help.

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