Saturday, May 19, 2018

Guest Post: Help for Teens Struggling with the Darkness of Suicidal Thoughts: A Prevention Toolkit

The most common underlying cause of suicidal thoughts is depression – a medical condition that affects millions of people. It’s not a brain defect and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It is simply a condition that, like other medical issues, can be treated and managed through treatment, counseling, and various lifestyle changes. For both boys and girls, depression increases the risk of suicide 12-fold, and can lead to negative coping mechanisms such as substance abuse. In order to get to the heart of thoughts of suicide, it’s important to tackle what’s likely causing them. 

Use this toolkit for helpful resources and tips as you navigate this journey to the top.

Helpful Resources

When you are struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide, it can make you feel as if all hope is lost. The funk your brain is in is tricking you into thinking you can’t do this, but you can! When your mind is playing games, here are some resources to reach out to:

      Access help 24/7 with the Crisis Text Line.
      Put the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on speed dial.
      Reach out to other teens.
      Browse helpful information at the SPTS website.

      Educate yourself about depression.

Steps to Take If You Are Having Suicidal Thoughts

Stop and Think.

First and foremost, if you’re currently thinking about harming yourself the first thing you should do is take a step back. Commit to at least 24 hours to let your emotions settle. Suicide is permanent, while emotions can be fleeting. Take some time to think. It’s vital that you know that you are not alone. Some of the most admired and accomplished people have been overwhelmed by depression and contemplated ending their life. Rest assured that your depression can be treated, driving away thoughts of suicide and that feeling of hopelessness.

Build Your Network

Do not try to deal with your suicidal thoughts by yourself. Reach out to someone. If you want to talk to someone other than a friend or family member, there are many suicide lifelines out there that will help you any day of the year, any time of the day. Talk with your parents or caregivers about your thoughts. Your biggest ally during this time will be your support network. If you are worried about how they will react, or don’t feel comfortable talking to them, consider using one of these letters and simply sign your name at the bottom.

If you need a number right now, dial 1-800-273-8255.

Get Professional Help

Building your support network is a great start, but depression is a mental illness that is best treated by a professional. They will be able to create the treatment plan that works best for you, and become yet another member of your growing network of support.

Extra Tools to Tackle Your Depression

      Get up and get moving.
      Practice deep breathing and yoga.
      Adopt a service dog.
      Get a good night’s sleep.
      Fuel your body with the proper nutrition.

When it comes to depression and suicide, there is an established link. Untreated depression is a leading cause of suicide attempts and completions. If you are feeling depressed, talk to someone. Seek help from a mental health professional. You are not alone and you can get through this.

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By Mariah Kaye Williams
Ever since her daughter-in-law was suicidal three years ago, Mariah Williams resolved to fight stressors in her own life and encouraged those she loves to do the same. Mariah now researches and writes daily to promote self-care.