People of all ages are susceptible to experiencing stress, confusion and depression from situations or events occurring in their lives. The onset of clinical conditions such as depression or dealing with a negative life circumstance can be so painful that the person’s thoughts frequently turn to ideas about escaping the constant torment of their situation.
Teenagers travel through many emotional and physical changes that may include mood swings, withdrawing and isolating themselves from others, or very noticeable fashion amendments. Being a teenager is often about fitting in with a respective crowd of people, fashionably looking like the majority, and learning to be independent. In these changes, the pressures to use and/or abuse drugs are often quite common.
The teen feels that there is no hope for the future, and things will never improve.
The teen imagines the world without their existence, or constantly talks about death or dying. For example they might say things like, “why am I still here?”
The teen expresses self-hatred and self-loathing and perceives is a burden to others.
The teen withdraws from family and friends and is isolating self from social interactions.
The teen may purposely embark on unusual risks such as drug and alcohol abuse, or engage in self-injury such as cutting.
There may be visible changes to sleep, eating, and appearances. For example, the teen may neglect personal appearance and self-care.
The teen may be performing worse in school as a result of lack of focus, interest, and motivation to complete assignments.
The more well thought out and detailed the teenager’s suicide plan, the higher the risk of follow-through. Providing social support to a suicidal teenager is an acknowledgment that he or she feels alone, and therefore having social support reduces that sense of isolation. Suicide threats or behavior should never be ignored as this is often a cry for help. Many people make the false assumption that broaching the subject with someone you suspect to be at risk will be a catalyst to suicidal thinking. The best thing you can do is to talk about it in a non-judgmental manner.
Teens who reach this point feel that they lack the resources to cope with their problems and try to communicate feelings of hopelessness and the expression of insurmountable stress through suicide. While some teenagers attempt suicide as a desperate act to get help from others without the intention of ending life, there are those who have lost all hope that help is obtainable. Thus, the goal to end their life becomes a reality. Psychiatric treatment, therapy, or support groups have proven effective for dealing with suicide thoughts along with other powerful tools, which brings us to the topic of creative recovery.
Therapeutic art can help teens overcome their trauma or help them through the difficult time in their life by teaching coping skills, resilience, and problem solving. Register for a therapeutic art workshop with the Queen Shirley Foundation (QSF). For virtual mental health therapy, schedule an individual appointment with Honor First. If you are feeling suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.