One of the scariest and most painful things that can happen to a parent is seeing your child suffer and struggle with feeling worthless, helpless, or hopeless. With the rise in teen mental health issues, many parents are left feeling overwhelmed and desperate to help.
If your teen is depressed, anxious, or even suicidal, know that there are options and ways to help them. You can read more about how to help your teen through this Vox article.
Asking a teen if they are feeling suicidal and letting them know they can always talk to you is one of the best options. Good questions include: Have you felt sad more days than not in the past couple of weeks? Have you had thoughts of ending your own life in the past couple of weeks? While these questions might feel direct, studies have shown that directly asking can help teens know that they aren’t alone and decrease the likelihood of them attempting suicide or self-harm.
Make sure that your child knows that they can always talk to you, and that you care about them. When they talk, listen nonjudgmentally. Try to understand the problem from their perspective: For them, suicide is not the problem, it is their solution. And maybe you and other trusted adults (teachers, coaches, counselors, etc) can help them identify the problem(s) and more effective solutions.
The article also notes that therapy, specifically Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), can help teens deal with suicidal thoughts and self-harm urges without acting on them. Over time, DBT also helps patients learn important life skills and emotion regulation to help decrease the frequency of these thoughts and urges. At the Youth and Family Institute, we provide expert Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to teens in Los Angeles and throughout California to help them recover and build their life worth living.
“Teens are increasingly depressed, anxious, and suicidal. How can we help?” – Published for Vox by Brian Resnick on Oct 17, 2019. Read article.