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SUICIDE HELP

Dealing with Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings

Suicide Help In This Article

You're not alone; many of us have had suicidal thoughts at some point in our lives. Feeling suicidal is not a character defect, and it doesn't mean that you are crazy, or weak, or flawed. It only means that you have more pain than you can cope with right now. This pain seems overwhelming and permanent at the moment. But with time and support, you can overcome your problems and the pain and suicidal feelings will pass.

Coping with suicidal thoughts: the first steps

Step #1: Promise not to do anything right now

Even though you’re in a lot of pain right now, give yourself some distance between thoughts and action. Make a promise to yourself: "I will wait 24 hours and won't do anything drastic during that time." Or, wait a week.

Thoughts and actions are two different things—your suicidal thoughts do not have to become a reality. There’s is no deadline, no one pushing you to act on these thoughts immediately. Wait. Wait and put some distance between your suicidal thoughts and suicidal action.

Step #2: Avoid drugs and alcohol

Suicidal thoughts can become even stronger if you have taken drugs or alcohol. It is important to not use nonprescription drugs or alcohol when you feel hopeless or are thinking about suicide.

Step #3: Make your home safe

Remove things you could use to hurt yourself, such as pills, knives, razors, or firearms. If you are unable to do so, go to a place where you can feel safe. If you are thinking of taking an overdose, give your medicines to someone who can return them to you one day at a time as you need them.

Step #4: Take hope—people DO get through this

Even people who feel as badly as you are feeling now manage to survive these feelings. Take hope in this. There is a very good chance that you are going to live through these feelings, no matter how much self-loathing, hopelessness, or isolation you are currently experiencing. Just give yourself the time needed and don’t try to go it alone.

Step #5: Don’t keep these suicidal feelings to yourself

Many of us have found that the first step to coping with suicidal thoughts and feelings is to share them with someone we trust. It may be a friend, a therapist, a member of the clergy, a teacher, a family doctor, a coach, or an experienced counselor at the end of a helpline. Find someone you trust and let them know how bad things are. Don’t let fear, shame, or embarrassment prevent you from seeking help. Just talking about how you got to this point in your life can release a lot of the pressure that’s building up and help you find a way to cope.

If you’re feeling suicidal right now, please call for help! Call 1-800-273-TALK in the U.S. or visit IASP to find a helpline in your country. Or talk to someone you trust and let them know how bad things are.

Why do I feel this way?

Many kinds of emotional pain can lead to thoughts of suicide. The reasons for this pain are unique to each one of us, and our ability to cope with the pain differs from person to person. Don't listen to anyone who tells you, "That's not enough to be suicidal about." We are all different. What might be bearable to one person may not be bearable to you. There are, however, some common factors that may lead us to experience suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Feeling suicidal is often associated with problems that can be treated

Loss, depression, anxiety disorders, medical conditions, drug and alcohol dependency, financial, legal or school problems, and other life difficulties can all create profound emotional distress. They also interfere with our ability to problem solve. Even if you can’t see it now, there are nearly always other solutions for these problems.

Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are all treatable with changes in lifestyle, therapy, and medication. Most people who seek help for their problems and make constructive changes in their lives improve their situation and recover. Even if you have received treatment for a disorder before, or if you’ve already made attempts to solve your problems, you should know that it’s often necessary to try several different solutions before the right solution or combination of solutions can be found. Almost all problems can be treated or resolved.

Why suicide can seem like the only option

If you are unable to think of solutions other than suicide, it is not that other solutions don’t exist, but rather that you are currently unable to see them. The intense emotional pain that you’re experiencing right now can distort your thinking so it becomes harder to see possible solutions to problems, or to connect with those who can offer support. Therapists, counselors, or friends or loved ones, can help you to see solutions that otherwise may not be apparent to you. Give them a chance to help.

A suicidal crisis is almost always temporary

Although it might seem as if your pain and unhappiness will never end, it is important to realize that crises are usually temporary. Solutions are often found, feelings change, unexpected positive events occur. Remember: suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Give yourself the time necessary for things to change and the pain to subside.

Reaching out for help

Even if it doesn't feel like it right now, there are many people who want to support you during this difficult time. They won't try to argue with you about how miserable you feel or tell you to just "snap out of it." They will not judge you. They will simply listen to you and be there for you.

Reach out to someone. Do it now. If you promised yourself 24-hours or a week in step #1, use that time to tell someone what's going on with you. You can call a trusted friend, family member, minister, rabbi, doctor, or therapist. It doesn’t matter who it is, as long as it’s someone you trust and who is likely to listen with compassion and acceptance.

If you don’t know who to turn to:

In the U.S. – Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the National Hopeline Network at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). These toll-free crisis hotlines offer 24-hour suicide prevention and support. Your call is free and confidential.

Outside the U.S. – Visit IASP or Suicide.org to find a helpline in your country.

How to talk to someone about your suicidal thoughts

Even when you’ve decided who you can trust to talk to, admitting your suicidal thoughts to another person can be difficult.

  • Tell the person exactly what you are telling yourself. If you have a suicide plan, explain it to them.
  • Phrases such as, ‘I can't take it anymore’ or ‘I’m done’ are vague and do not illustrate how serious things really are. Tell the person you trust that you are thinking about suicide.
  • If it is too difficult for you to talk about, try writing it down and handing a note to the person you trust. Or send them an email or text and sit with them while they read it.

What if you don't feel understood?

If you do not feel the person you have chosen to talk to has understood, tell someone else, or call a suicide crisis helpline. There are plenty of people out there who will understand. Don’t let one bad experience stop you from finding someone who can help.

Ways to cope with suicidal thoughts and feelings

Remember that while it may seem as if these suicidal thoughts and feelings will never end, this is never a permanent condition. You WILL feel better again. In the meantime, there are some ways to help cope with your suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Things to do

  • Talk with someone every day, preferably face to face. Though you feel like withdrawing, ask trusted friends and acquaintances to spend time with you. Or continue to call a crisis helpline and talk about your feelings.
  • Make a safety plan. Develop a set of steps that you can follow during a suicidal crisis. It should include contact numbers for your doctor or therapist, as well as friends and family members who will help in an emergency.
  • Make a written schedule for yourself every day and stick to it, no matter what. Keep a regular routine as much as possible, even when your feelings seem out of control.
  • Get out in the sun or into nature for at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Exercise as vigorously as is safe for you . To get the most benefit, aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. But you can start small. Three 10-minute bursts of activity can have a positive effect on mood.
  • Make time for things that bring you joy. Even if very few things bring you pleasure at the moment, force yourself to do the things you used to enjoy.
  • Remember your personal goals. You may have always wanted to travel to a particular place, read a specific book, own a pet, move to another place, learn a new hobby, volunteer, go back to school, or start a family. Write your personal goals down.

Things to avoid:

  • Being alone. Solitude can make suicidal thoughts even worse. Visit a friend, or family member, or pick up the phone and call a crisis helpline.
  • Alcohol and drugs. Drugs and alcohol can increase depression, hamper your problem-solving ability, and can make you act impulsively.
  • Doing things that make you feel worse. Listening to sad music, looking at certain photographs, reading old letters, or visiting a loved one’s grave can all increase negative feelings.
  • Thinking about suicide and other negative thoughts. Try not to become preoccupied with suicidal thoughts as this can make them even stronger. Don’t think and rethink negative thoughts. Find a distraction. Giving yourself a break from suicidal thoughts can help, even if it’s for a short time.

Recovering from suicidal feelings

Even if your suicidal thoughts and feelings have subsided, get help for yourself. Experiencing that sort of emotional pain is itself a traumatizing experience. Finding a support group or therapist can be very helpful in decreasing the chances that you will feel suicidal again in the future. You can get help and referrals from your doctor or from the organizations listed in our Related Links section.

5 steps to recovering from suicidal thoughts and feelings

  • Identify triggers or situations that lead to feelings of despair or generate suicidal thoughts, such as an anniversary of a loss, alcohol, or stress from relationships. Find ways to avoid these places, people, or situations.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat right, don’t skip meals, and get plenty of sleep. Exercise is also key: it releases endorphins, relieves stress, and promotes emotional well-being.
  • Build your support network. Surround yourself with positive influences and people who make you feel good about yourself. The more you’re invested in other people and your community, the more you have to lose—which will help you stay positive and on the recovery track.
  • Develop new activities and interests. Find new hobbies, volunteer activities, or work that gives you a sense of meaning and purpose. When you’re doing things you find fulfilling, you’ll feel better about yourself and feelings of despair are less likely to return.
  • Learn to deal with stress in a healthy way. Find healthy ways to keep your stress levels in check, including exercising, meditating, using sensory strategies to relax, practicing simple breathing exercises, and challenging self-defeating thoughts.

More help for dealing with suicidal thoughts and feelings

Resources and references

Suicide crisis lines and help for suicidal thoughts

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Suicide prevention telephone hotline funded by the U.S. government. Provides free, 24-hour assistance. 1-800-273-TALK (8255). (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)

National Hopeline Network – Toll-free telephone number offering 24-hour suicide crisis support. 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433). (National Hopeline Network)

The Trevor Project – Crisis intervention and suicide prevention services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Includes a 24/7 hotline: 1-866-488-7386.

State Prevention Programs – Browse through a database of suicide prevention programs, organized by state. (National Strategy for Suicide Prevention)

Crisis Centers in Canada – Locate suicide crisis centers in Canada by province. (Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention)

Befrienders Worldwide – International suicide prevention organization connects people to crisis hotlines in their country.

txt4life – Suicide prevention resource for residents of Minnesota. Text the word "LIFE" to 61222 to be connected to a trained counselor. (txt4life.org)

IASP – Find crisis centers and helplines around the world. (International Association for Suicide Prevention).

International Suicide Hotlines – Find a helpline in different countries around the world. (Suicide.org)

Samaritans UK – 24-hour suicide support for people in the UK (call 08457 90 90 90) and Ireland (call 1850 60 90 90). (Samaritans)

Lifeline Australia – 24-hour suicide crisis support service at 13 11 14. (Lifeline Australia)

If you are feeling suicidal

If you are thinking about suicide, read this first – Tips for getting you through when you’re feeling suicidal, as well as information about maintaining recovery and healing. (Metanoia)

About Suicide – UK National Health Service site offering information for those considering suicide or have attempted suicide in the past. (Moodjuice)

Coping with suicidal thoughts – PDF download with information on how to understand your suicidal feelings and how to develop a safety plan. (Consortium for Organizational Mental Health)

What other readers are saying

“I just want to express my gratitude for the helpful and balanced and hopeful articles that you have on Helpguide.org, particularly on suicide, depression, abuse, all of which I have been struggling with. Today felt like the end, but your words have helped give me hope.” ~ Vermont

“This has helped me so much. Yes, I'm depressed and wish I could die, but now I understand there is a way out, and I can get through this. People can help me, adults or friends, and I can get through this! Thank you for the advice.” ~ United Kingdom

“I [have] had multiple episodes of suicidality, several of them landing me in the psychiatric ward . . . Before the last episode, I had shared your article with my wife and kids, and they actively used the tools from your page to keep me safe and get me the help I needed. The tools in your article have literally been life-saving.” ~ North Carolina

“Thanks for providing the truth in a trusted source. I know it’s not very profitable but you saved my life and I am forever grateful.” ~ New York

“I just want to thank you for being there when I needed you. I was sitting here hopeless and wanting to end things only because I saw no way out…I feel like you may have just saved me. Thank you so unbelievably much. I'm still sitting here with tears but it's tears of relief.” ~ Canada

Authors: Jaelline Jaffe, Ph.D., Lawrence Robinson, and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Last updated: June 2015.


The Surprising Psychology of Smiling Natural or fake, each smile tells you something important about its wearer.

Consider enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa, the demure smile of the Late HRH Princess Diana, and the enchanting smile of Julia Roberts. What can one learn from a smile? What have evolutionary, cross-cultural and social psychological research contributed to our understanding of the smile? Is it preposterous to suggest there is (or ever could be) a science of smiling?

Smiles may be natural or faked. The broad, genuine, expressive, spontaneous smile can be defined physiologically in terms of what muscles do to different parts of the face lips, cheeks or eyes. There is also the wry, miserable smile, often lopsided, that indicates recognition of the vicissitudes of life. The polite smile—often more like a grimace—is as much a sign of embarrassment as happiness.

Surprisingly the smiling or laughing face is often not very different from the howling or tearful face. Some people—possibly women more than men—cry with joy. The British talk about things as being `frightfully jolly'. People sometimes laugh as a response to shock, or when embarrassed. Funeral wakes are often (sometimes unpredictably) characterized by laughter

Genuine laughter increases breathing, while lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Crying, as uniquely human as laughing, may accompany laughter and may be as much a sign of joy and relief as of shock or sadness.

The “science of smiling” as such was initiated by Charles Darwin. He noticed that the cause, consequences and manifestations of smiling is universal whereas many other nonverbal of body language behaviors (like gestures or touch) differ between cultures and are therefore probably learnt. Babies born blind smile like sighted infants. We begin smiling at five weeks: babies learn that crying gets attention of adults but smiling keeps it.

Darwin also observed that smiling and laughter often occurred together and therefore had similar origins. Happiness, he thought, was similar to amusement. Smiling, it is argued is the outward manifestation of happiness and serves to begin to connect us to others. We are “prewired” to connect with others via this system. Thus it has been shown that people who cannot smile, because of facial paralysis, have more difficulty in social relationships.

However there maybe culture differences in rules of smiling: When etiquette dictates it is appropriate to smile or not. For instance it has been demonstrated that in American, people smile more in the south than the north (cut by the Mason-Dixon line). Many east Asians cover their mouth when smiling, while until recently one had to say “cheese” when photographed because it was the belief that saying the word induced something like a smile.

We know that, on average, women smile more than men. At two months old we can observe that baby girls smile more than baby boys. We know that powerful men smile less than less powerful men. Also that smiling is linked to testosterone:

It has been suggested that the English smile less than many other groups because of their ideas about the virtues of the “stiff upper lip” and not appearing emotional. Further they keep their teeth hidden and pull their mouth sideways rather than up. One explanation for the common pursed smile of the English is that for a long time a small mouth was considered more attractive and desirable.

There is a lot of evidence of body language mirroring. We automatically copy the facial expressions of others. We reciprocate and in social groups it can be contagious. People respond to, and evaluate, those who smile differently and more positively than those who do not. “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; cry and you cry alone.”

This sets up a virtuous cycle for the smiler and a viscous cycle for the non-smiler. Thus in sales, hospitality and negotiation situations the person who first smiles increases the possibility of the other person(s) smiling which increased trust and liking and therefore “co-operation” and helpfulness. Smiling helps bond people together.

There is also physiological evidence that smiling has specific biological consequence. This is even truer of laughter and is evidence of a feedback loop. Smiling has hormonal and physiological consequences which make us feel better and want to smile more. Smiling self medicates and heals.

All body language researchers have attempted to come up with a full category scheme for the different smiles that one notices. Zoologists noticed that chimpanzees have two smiles: a submission face (lips retracted, teeth exposed) and a play face (lower jaw dropped and corners of the mouth pulled back). The submission face is designed to appease.

Smiling in humans can indicate dominance. If you watch two people of different social rank that dominant people smile more in “friendly situations” but less in “unfriendly situations”

Psychologists have made many distinctions as regards human smiles but at the most fundamental level the distinction has been between genuine vs. fake smiles. Fake smiles are used for various purposes often to pretend to show enjoyment, or sociability or agreement. These are easily noticeable because they involve the mouth and not the eyes. Technically we can define the physiological difference between a genuine and fake smile: two muscles are involved (zygomatic major and orbicularis oculi) Real smiles involve both muscles and fake smiles the former but not the latter. Fake smiles involve the mouth more than the eyes: they are, in a sense only half the story.

Another distinction has been between open and closed mouth smiles. One writer (Judi James) has identified 14 different smiles which she calls: the mirthless, the stretched social rictis, the asymmetric, the upturned, the mouth-shrug, the perfect, the suppressed, the tonsil-flasher, the secret, the uber-flirt, the aggressive, the lower-jaw jut, the clencher, the smug, and the know-all!

The world’s expert, however, is Paul Ekman, who has studied all facial muscles and psychological motives to understand the natureof smiles. He produced this useful list:

  1. The felt smile, which is long and intense and shows all sign of positive feeling associated with amusement, contentment, and pleasure from stimulation.
  2. The fear smile and contempt smiles, which are misnomers because neither has to do with positive emotions though both can have a “smiley mouth” and dimples.
  3. The dampened smile, which is a real smile where people attempt to suppress or conceal the extent of their positive emotions.
  4. The miserable smile, a “grin and bear” it smile indicating stoicism about negative emotions.
  5. The flirtatious smile, which is partly embarrassed because the person gazes/faces away from the person of interest/contact.
  6. The Chaplin smile, a contorted supercilious smile that if effect smiles at smiling.

Ekman also notes deliberate, but not fake, smiles that sign particular messages like:

  • The Qualifier smile, which takes the edge off a harsh message which can “trap” the recipient into returning the smile.
  • The Compliance smile, an acknowledgement that a bitter pill will be swallowed without protest
  • The Co-ordinated smile, a polite co-operative smile showing agreement, understanding and acknowledgement
  • The Listener Response smile, which simply indicates that everything heard is understood. It is an encouragement to continue

In a brilliant and highly detailed analysis of one person, albeit a famous one—the late Diana, Princess of Wales—Peter Collett from Oxford University identified six quite different smiles:

  • The eye-puff smile to widen the eyes and make people feel more protective/nurturing of her.
  • The Spencer smile, which was authentic, heartfelt, genuine
  • The pursed smile, which occurred in times of shyness and embarrassment
  • The dipped smile, which involved lowering the head so the eyes look up showing childlikeness
  • The head-cant smile, which means tilting the head to one side to show she was unthreatening
  • The turn-away smile, which gives two opposing messages (approach/avoidance) which Darwin called a hybrid expression and is thought to be “irresistible

Politicians, movie stars, and media people practice smiling. So do those in the hospitality business. There are things they learn not to do: open your mouth, unless laughing; producing a sudden flash smile; having a choreographed smile that bears no relation to what you are saying. Saying cheese produces fake smiles. People well known for smiling very little (Putin, Thatcher) have a reputation for being tough and non-submissive which is what they want to portray. Smiling effects a person’s reputation and those in the “reputation business” know that.

There are lots of reasons why people smile. We know that when people are lying they tend to smile less than when telling the truth because they do the opposite to what people expect of people who are telling a lie. Police studies have shown many times that people accused of serious (smuggling) and less serious crimes (speeding) tend to smile more and more genuinely when innocent than those later proved to be guilty. You can detect false of counterfeit smiles by looking for four things:

  1. Duration. How long it lasts. False smiles last longer
  2. Assembly. They are put together (eyes, mouth) and taken apart more quickly that real smiles
  3. Location. False smiles are “voluntary” and involve mainly the lower part of the face whereas read “involuntary” smiles involve as much the upper part of the face around the eyes and eyebrows
  4. Symmetry. If the smile appears more of one side of the face (often the right side) it is more likely to be false

Those in certain businesses like the service and entertainment business where people are encouraged to smile so that it becomes a natural part of the work activity. It is relatively easy to teach because it has such obvious quick and immediate rewards to those who smile: they feel better, others respond more positively, and they succeed at their task more quickly and more often. Thus they feel better about themselves and their task and smile more naturally more often.

So we know rather a lot about the why, how and when people smile.



FDA OK's First Quarterly Schizophrenia Drug

 

Selina McKee

 

FDA OKs first quarterly schizophrenia drug

US regulators have issued a green light for the first schizophrenia medicine dosed just four times a year, which could potentially help patients better stick to treatment and thus improve symptom control.

 

 

Following a priority review, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved Johnson & Johnson group Janssen’s atypical antipsychotic Invega Trinza - a three-month injectable formulation of paliperidone palmitate - for the treatment of the condition.

 

 

Clearance came on the back of data from a Phase III, long-term maintenance trial, published in by JAMA Psychiatry, in which 93% of patients treated with Invega Trinza did not experience a significant return of schizophrenia symptoms. Clinical data also show that the drug’s safety profile is consistent with that of its once-monthly predecessor Invega Sustenna (paliperidone palmitate), approved by FDA back in 2009.

 

It is hoped that the new three-month version will go even further in boosting treatment adherence rates. As Janssen notes, patients with acute illness often do not have insight about their disease, which contributes their not taking medication or using treatment services, potentially leading to relapse.

“With a dosing interval that can be measured in seasons, not days, people living with schizophrenia and their treatment teams can focus on recovery goals beyond short-term symptom control,” commented trial investigator Joseph Kwentus, Precise Research Centers. “Recovery looks different for everyone, and the long-term symptom control offered by Invega Trinza can help patients work toward their own personal goals.

 

Janssen said the drug should be available in the US mid-June.
Read more at: http://www.pharmatimes.com/Article/15-05-19/FDA_OKs_first_quarterly_schizophrenia_drug.aspx#ixzz3e1IpQmY7
Follow us: @PharmaTimes on Twitter


Depression In Teens

It’s not unusual for young people to experience "the blues" or feel "down in the dumps" occasionally. Adolescence is always an unsettling time, with the many physical, emotional, psychological and social changes that accompany this stage of life.

Unrealistic academic, social, or family expectations can create a strong sense of rejection and can lead to deep disappointment. When things go wrong at school or at home, teens often overreact. Many young people feel that life is not fair or that things "never go their way." They feel "stressed out" and confused. To make matters worse, teens are bombarded by conflicting messages from parents, friends and society. Today’s teens see more of what life has to offer — both good and bad — on television, at school, in magazines and on the Internet. They are also forced to learn about the threat of AIDS, even if they are not sexually active or using drugs.

Teens need adult guidance more than ever to understand all the emotional and physical changes they are experiencing. When teens’ moods disrupt their ability to function on a day-to-day basis, it may indicate a serious emotional or mental disorder that needs attention — adolescent depression. Parents or caregivers must take action.

Dealing With Adolescent Pressures

When teens feel down, there are ways they can cope with these feelings to avoid serious depression. All of these suggestions help develop a sense of acceptance and belonging that is so important to adolescents.

  • Try to make new friends. Healthy relationships with peers are central to teens’ self-esteem and provide an important social outlet.
  • Participate in sports, job, school activities or hobbies. Staying busy helps teens focus on positive activities rather than negative feelings or behaviors.
  • Join organizations that offer programs for young people. Special programs geared to the needs of adolescents help develop additional interests.
  • Ask a trusted adult for help. When problems are too much to handle alone, teens should not be afraid to ask for help.

But sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, teens become depressed. Many factors can contribute to depression. Studies show that some depressed people have too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Also, a family history of depression may increase the risk for developing depression. Other factors that can contribute to depression are difficult life events (such as death or divorce), side-effects from some medications and negative thought patterns.

Recognizing Adolescent Depression

Adolescent depression is increasing at an alarming rate. Recent surveys indicate that as many as one in five teens suffers from clinical depression. This is a serious problem that calls for prompt, appropriate treatment. Depression can take several forms, including bipolar disorder (formally called manic-depression), which is a condition that alternates between periods of euphoria and depression.

Depression can be difficult to diagnose in teens because adults may expect teens to act moody. Also, adolescents do not always understand or express their feelings very well. They may not be aware of the symptoms of depression and may not seek help.

These symptoms may indicate depression, particularly when they last for more than two weeks:

  • Poor performance in school
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Sadness and hopelessness
  • Lack of enthusiasm, energy or motivation
  • Anger and rage
  • Overreaction to criticism
  • Feelings of being unable to satisfy ideals
  • Poor self-esteem or guilt
  • Indecision, lack of concentration or forgetfulness
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Substance abuse
  • Problems with authority
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

Teens may experiment with drugs or alcohol or become sexually promiscuous to avoid feelings of depression. Teens also may express their depression through hostile, aggressive, risk-taking behavior. But such behaviors only lead to new problems, deeper levels of depression and destroyed relationships with friends, family, law enforcement or school officials.

Treating Adolescent Depression

It is extremely important that depressed teens receive prompt, professional treatment.

Depression is serious and, if left untreated, can worsen to the point of becoming life-threatening. If depressed teens refuse treatment, it may be necessary for family members or other concerned adults to seek professional advice.

Therapy can help teens understand why they are depressed and learn how to cope with stressful situations. Depending on the situation, treatment may consist of individual, group or family counseling. Medications that can be prescribed by a psychiatrist may be necessary to help teens feel better.

Some of the most common and effective ways to treat depression in adolescents are:

  • Psychotherapy provides teens an opportunity to explore events and feelings that are painful or troubling to them. Psychotherapy also teaches them coping skills.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps teens change negative patterns of thinking and behaving.
  • Interpersonal therapy focuses on how to develop healthier relationships at home and at school.
  • Medication relieves some symptoms of depression and is often prescribed along with therapy.

When depressed adolescents recognize the need for help, they have taken a major step toward recovery. However, remember that few adolescents seek help on their own. They may need encouragement from their friends and support from concerned adults to seek help and follow treatment recommendations.

Facing the Danger Of Teen Suicide

Sometimes teens feel so depressed that they consider ending their lives. Each year, almost 5,000 young people, ages 15 to 24, kill themselves. The rate of suicide for this age group has nearly tripled since 1960, making it the third leading cause of death in adolescents and the second leading cause of death among college-age youth.

Studies show that suicide attempts among young people may be based on long-standing problems triggered by a specific event. Suicidal adolescents may view a temporary situation as a permanent condition. Feelings of anger and resentment combined with exaggerated guilt can lead to impulsive, self-destructive acts.

Recognizing the Warning Signs

Four out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warnings. Pay attention to these warning signs:

  • Suicide threats, direct and indirect
  • Obsession with death
  • Poems, essays and drawings that refer to death
  • Giving away belongings
  • Dramatic change in personality or appearance
  • Irrational, bizarre behavior
  • Overwhelming sense of guilt, shame or rejection
  • Changed eating or sleeping patterns
  • Severe drop in school performance

REMEMBER!!! These warning signs should be taken seriously. Obtain help immediately. Caring and support can save a young life.

Helping Suicidal Teens

  • Offer help and listen. Encourage depressed teens to talk about their feelings. Listen, don’t lecture.
  • Trust your instincts. If it seems that the situation may be serious, seek prompt help. Break a confidence if necessary, in order to save a life.
  • Pay attention to talk about suicide. Ask direct questions and don’t be afraid of frank discussions. Silence is deadly!
  • Seek professional help. It is essential to seek expert advice from a mental health professional who has experience helping depressed teens. Also, alert key adults in the teen’s life — family, friends and teachers.

Looking To The Future

When adolescents are depressed, they have a tough time believing that their outlook can improve. But professional treatment can have a dramatic impact on their lives. It can put them back on track and bring them hope for the future.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

Other Resources

The Boys Town National Hotline. (800)-448-3000.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
3615 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20016-3007
Phone Number: (202) 966-7300
Email Address: clinical@aacap.org 
Website URL: www.aacap.org  
American Association of Suicidology
4201 Connecticut Avenue NW; Suite 310
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 202-237-2280

Suicide Awareness/Voices of Prevention

The Jed Foundation. Suicide prevention for college students.

The Nine Line. (800) 999-9999. Covenant Hous crisis counseling for homeless and at-risk children.


Tobacco Cessation

People with mental illnesses and addictions can die decades earlier than the general population — and smoking is a major contributor.

  • About 50% of people with mental illnesses and addictions smoke, compared to 23% of the general population.
  • People with mental illnesses and addictions smoke half of all cigarettes produced, and are only half as likely as other smokers to quit.
  • Smoking-related illnesses cause half of all deaths among people with behavioral health disorders.
  • 30-35% of the behavioral healthcare workforce smokes (versus only 1.7% of primary care physicians)

What Can You Do to Decrease or Prevent Tobacco Use Among People with Mental Illnesses and Addictions?


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