If you are considering dying by suicide, please contact the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to your nearest emergency room. If you are local to Ventura County, you can also call the Ventura County Behavioral Health Crisis Line at 1-866-998-2243.
This is an essential blog for parents of teenagers who are struggling with mental health. We share 5 crucial steps parents can take to prevent teen suicide. According to most recent statistics, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for young people. While this topic can feel like taboo to discuss, it’s important to be open-minded, well-informed, and aware of the many factors that play into suicide.
According to most recent statistics, LGBTQIA+ teens are four times as likely to attempt or consider suicide compared to their peers who do not identify as LGBTQIA+. Alongside this, LGBTQIA+ teens who come from families that reject or do not accept them are eight times more likely to attempt suicide than those with families who accept them. Click here to read about 4 Tips for LGBTQIA+ Youth.
As teens navigate friendships, school, finding themselves, and more, they can experience stress. Teens can struggle with anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, and more on a daily basis. Taking the necessary steps to ensure they get the support they need is important.
Teen counseling in Simi Valley, CA works closely with teens and their families to support them individually, while seeing how the family unit can grow as a whole together.
Teen therapy ensures that teens feel understood, heard, and accepted for who they are. It is critical that teens are able to have a space, or multiple spaces, where they feel this way.
5 Crucial Steps Parents Can Take to Prevent Teen Suicide: Recognize warning signs
There are warning signs teens may display in the event that they may be struggling with suicidal thoughts. While some may not always be visible to the eye, others can be more apparent and concerning. These warning signs do not directly verify that your teen is suicidal, but it is important to be aware of them and inquire further.
Your teen may present with self-harming behaviors, such as cutting or mutiliating their body. Teens can mutilate themselves on their arms, legs, or in hidden areas like their stomach using razor blades, knives, or lighters to burn their skin.
There may be noticeable changes in their behavior or personality. This can look like being withdrawn or isolated from friends or family. They may even show little to no interest in things they once loved or enjoyed.
Your teen may openly speak about feeling sad, overwhelmed, or distressed with life and wanting to end things. They speak about not wanting to be around anymore, wanting to die, wanting to disappear, feeling fed up with living, and more along those lines.
Make sure to read our blog on 7 Signs of Depression in Teens to understand if your teen exhibits any signs of depression. This can help you and your teen take the appropriate steps for teen therapy in Simi Valley, CA.
Parenting therapy in Simi Valley offers parents a space for talking about these potential warning signs in teens – and what steps parents can take to support them.
5 Crucial Steps Parents Can Take to Prevent Teen Suicide: Understand risk factors for suicide
You may notice your teen abusing substances, for example. Certain substances, such as alcohol, xanax, or heroin, can be fatal when consumed in large amounts. Household medicines like benadryl, medically prescribed sleeping pills, and household cleaners can also be ingested and have fatal or serious health effects.
We wrote a blog on Talking to Your Teenager About Drugs and Alcohol, make sure to read this for tips on having a calm and effective conversation with them. Abusing or using substances is also a warning sign alongside being a risk factor.
If your teen shares with you that they are being bullied, that is also a risk factor for suicide. Bullying can be damaging and detrimental to their mental health. They can feel unaccepted, shut out, and ashamed of themselves. They may engage in aggressive or disruptive behaviors as a result.
Struggling with mental disorders, such as depression or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a risk factor as well. The weight of coping can be stressful and overwhelming, especially if they feel that they are alone. Your teen may have endured a form of trauma, whether it’s physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, or emotional or physical neglect, and cannot cope alone.
Your teen may also have had past suicide attempts which resulted in hospitalizations or program treatment. Ensuring that you know their triggers and risk factors is key to understanding how you can help.
Consulting with a teen therapist in Simi Valley can help you and your family understand how to proceed in getting your teen the support they need.
5 Crucial Steps Parents Can Take to Prevent Teen Suicide: Talk with your teen about suicide
Talk with your teen about suicide in an open-minded, non-judgmental manner. Your teen may be struggling enough as it is, and having you show solidarity can be life-saving. While this topic can feel difficult to discuss, you as a parent can make a big difference in bringing it up.
You can inquire with them directly if they are currently thinking about suicide. Use “I” statements to express your concern for them. For example, “I have noticed you are seeming very sad or angry lately. It makes me wonder how you are doing inside. I also noticed you may have some cuts on your arm. I care about you so much, and want to know how you’re feeling so I might be able to help.”
If you have personally struggled with feelings of hopelessness, share that perspective with them. Let them know that they are not alone in feeling this way, and that there are people out there who can relate such as yourself. On top of that, things do get better, and these feelings are not permanent.
Family therapy in Simi Valley, CA provides all family members with a space to share their feelings and talk about difficult topics together. Improving communication skills and understanding one another’s’ needs is a common topic in family counseling. Click here to read about 4 Reasons to Start Family Therapy.
If you are a parent unsure about how to approach difficult topics with your teen, consider starting parenting therapy. You are supported as a parent and guided to find the most effective parenting methods for you and your teen.
5 Crucial Steps Parents Can Take to Prevent Teen Suicide: Take an active role to support them
There are many ways that parents can play an active role in supporting their teen. Consider reading our blog on 5 Tips for Parenting Teenagers for information on establishing and strengthening a healthy relationship with your teen.
You can support your teen in a number of ways. One important way you can show your support is to be there for them, and provide them with a space to talk freely and openly. It can take time to build up trust with your teen, and for them to feel comfortable talking to you about certain things.
Try to get involved and understand what’s going on in their personal lives – without being nosy or pushy. Are they experiencing drama with their friends? Maybe some issues are going on in their intimate relationship, or they’re struggling in school. Ask what you can do to support them and be aware of what’s going on for them – this might be as simple as just listening to how their day is going or letting them vent frustrations and validating their feelings.
Understand where they are at with school, hobbies, and activities. How are things going in these areas of their lives? If they are struggling, see if you can find a way to help or guide them. Check out our blog for teens on How to Be Responsible for Your Mental Health and consider sharing it with them.
Consider seeking out family counseling in Simi Valley, Ca. Parents and teens will work together to develop a greater understanding of one another and find ways to grow together alongside growing individually.
5 Crucial Steps Parents Can Take to Prevent Teen Suicide: Seek out the proper mental health treatment
Seek out the proper mental health treatment for your teen.You want to ensure that they are receiving appropriate support and guidance during this time. It is recommended that teens go into intensive outpatient programs, or IOPs when in-need of a more structured recovery setting or wrap-around care (i.e. medication management, groups and individual counseling, etc.).
Another program teens may benefit from is a partial-hospitalization program, or a PHP. These programs offer therapy numerous times per week, both individually and in groups, supervision, regular activities, and more. These programs are more effective than once-a-week therapy, which is usually not enough to address suicidal intent and behaviors.
In a moment of crisis, it’s important to react and act in a calm, focused manner. Your teen may not be physically or emotionally able to call the National Suicide Hotline themselves (1-800-273-8255), therefore it is recommended to go to your nearest emergency room. If you are local to Ventura County, you can also call the Ventura County Behavioral Health Crisis Line at 1-866-998-2243.
When it comes to your teen struggling with suicidal thoughts, you want to realize that they are truly needing support, before it’s too late. The thought of your child battling suicidal thoughts or self-harm may be truly scary to you – please know that by seeking the proper supports, you don’t have to face the issue alone.
Counseling in Simi Valley, CA can help your teen be the best version of themselves everyday. We work to ensure that your teen feels safe during sessions, and can feel comfortable being vulnerable about difficult topics.
Make sure to check out our blog on 3 Benefits of Teen Therapy, for both teens and parents to read and get information from! These 3 benefits include having an individual safe space, gaining awareness about their feelings and behaviors, and learning and strengthening coping skills.
Our intake coordinator at New Leaf Marriage & Family Therapy will guide you through a transparent, caring intake process in getting started in anxiety therapy. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns about getting started.
Consider calling our therapy group at (805) 774-1506 for a free consultation!
Seek out a validating, safe environment with us today. We will help you get to where you want to be. Our therapists provide teen therapy, individual adult therapy, LGBTQIA+ therapy, anxiety therapy, depression therapy, family therapy, and more in-office in Simi Valley, CA.