Category Archives: Self Harm

How Parents Can Prevent Teen Suicide | Suicide Prevention Michigan

teen suicide

Suicide is the second most common cause of death among teenagers and young adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Nearly 18% of teenagers have seriously considered taking their own lives, and 8.6% have attempted to at least once. In an era of physical bullying and cyber bullying, parents constantly worry about the safety of their child’s mental health. If you are a parent concerned about teen suicide, the tips below explain how to talk to your child about depression and suicide.

Make Communication A Habit

Your teenager may not always want to talk to you, especially when something is wrong. That doesn’t mean you should stop talking altogether though. The goal is to create a habit of communication, meaning that your child feels so comfortable talking to you that it’s just part of the routine. The conversations don’t have to be extensive – a quick review of what went on during the day and what the plans are for the week. Do this every night at dinner or in the mornings while you get ready for work/school. Show your teen that the line of communication is always open, and he or she will be more likely to use it in a time of need.

Expose Your Strength And Vulnerability

It’s amazing how effective leading by example is. Your teen may fight every day to not be like you, but in the end, your example will rub off. Use this as an opportunity to teach your child how to process different types of emotions. If you need to grieve, grieve with your child. If you feel stressed and depressed, talk to your child about that in a healthy manner. Do not vent to your child, but rather let them know that it’s OK to feel helpless at times.

Follow-up these moments of vulnerability with moments of strength. Show your child how you plan to overcome a negative situation. This is where the real learning begins. It’s natural to feel sad, but you cannot let that sadness control your life. If you personally need help with depression, work with a depression counselor to get through your current obstacles. Talk to your child about the progress you are making in counseling so he or she knows that there is strength in getting help. When your child sees consistent examples of how to handle tough situations and emotions, he or she will be better equipped to fight teen depression.

Talk About Uncharacteristic Behaviors In A Supportive Way

Has your teen been acting a little “off” lately? The excessive moodiness and emotional outbursts may be a sign of something much bigger below the surface. You do not have to condone this behavior, but you should not immediately disregard it. Consider the root cause of the behavior adjustments, and talk to your child about them in a positive, supportive manner. Perhaps your teen’s best friend moved out of state, or maybe there was a recent death in the family. These situations are tough for a teenager to get through, but he or she will progress easier with your support.

Listen – Truly Listen

All your teen wants to know is that his or her emotions are valid. If your child decides to open up about an important issue, truly listen to what is going on. Put your phone away, turn the TV off, and provide your full, undivided attention. Breaking up with a two-week boyfriend may not seem like an issue to you, but to your teenage daughter, that could feel like the biggest tragedy she’s ever faced. If it matters to your child, it should matter to you. Discuss ways to overcome this situation together, and your teen will know you are on his or her side.

For more information about preventing teen suicide, contact our depression counselors in Michigan. You may also reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) at any time. They have free resources to help teens and adults alike. Help is always available.

Common Myths About Self-Injury Among Michigan Children

self-injury

Self-injury is a growing concern in Michigan, affecting 1 in 5 females and 1 in 7 males throughout the U.S. A staggering 90% of people who self-injure start in their teen and pre-teen years, and oftentimes their actions go completely unnoticed. Whether you are a teen struggling with depression or a parent who has noticed signs of self-harm, it may be hard to understand what’s true and what’s not in the world of self-injury. Here we will put to rest some common myths about self-injury so you can have a better understanding of this process.

People Self-Harm For Attention – FALSE

While there are rare instances where a person uses self-injury to get attention, most people who self-harm do so in secrecy. They can go months or even years without anyone ever noticing what they are doing, and some spend their entire lives holding on to this secret. Many people who self-injure feel ashamed of their actions, which is why they never talk to anyone about how they are feeling or reach out for help. Even if someone is in fact self-harming for the sake of getting attention, he or she could still benefit from self-esteem therapy and other tools used in self-injury counseling.

Self-Injury Is A Sign Of Suicidal Thoughts – Not Necessarily

Just because someone self-injures does not mean he or she wants to die. Children, teens, and young adults often use self-injury as a coping mechanism for depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, grief, etc. Cutting, burning, and other forms of self-harm come with a temporary rush of adrenaline, which is why some people use this as a tool to “get high.” Self-injury can be just as addictive as any other substance over time, and it may never lead to suicidal thoughts.

With that in mind, people who self-injure are at a high risk of having suicidal thoughts because of the depression that leads them to cut in the first place. Self-harm may not always be a strong enough coping mechanism, which could cause them to seek out more extreme ways to deal with their emotions and frustrations. This is why it is important to seek out self-harm therapy as soon as possible, to learn how to overcome depression and anxiety and move forward to a better quality of life. If you are concerned that your child may be depressed or suicidal, reach out to Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers in Michigan by calling (248) 244-8644.

The Level Of Self-Injury Is Proportional To The Level Of Depression – FALSE

Some people assume that the severity of a person’s self-harm is proportional to his or her depression. In other words, a child with severe depression will have severe cuts on his arms or legs. That is not the case at all. Every person has his or her own unique way of dealing with struggles in life. It would be the same as saying a person who drinks 6 beers in a night is more depressed than a person who drinks 2 beers. The person drinking 6 might not be depressed at all, but the person drinking 2 may have just gotten through a rocky divorce or major job change. Do not jump to conclusions about self-injury based on the severity of the wounds. Minor cuts or burns are still a sign that your child needs to speak with a therapist in Michigan.

Self-Harm Is An Effective Depression Therapy Technique – FALSE

Self-injury has received a certain level of “hype” over the last few decades, to the point that some people see it as a go-to tool for at-home depression therapy. It’s important to realize that self-harm is NOT an effective coping mechanism. In fact, it is quite the opposite of one. The relief experienced through self-injury is only temporary – if you experience any relief at all. By using self-injury to cope, you avoid learning other ways to sort through your emotions and overcome your depression altogether. In short, this is like putting a Band-Aid over a gaping wound. You’re much better off getting real treatment from real professionals who can put you on the road to healing.

Once You Start Cutting, You Can’t Stop – FALSE

As we mentioned above, self-injury can be addicting over time. An act only performed on occasion can soon become a compulsion. Like any other addiction though, a person can overcome the urge to cut or burn themselves with proper counseling from a self-injury therapist in Michigan. A therapist will learn to help you or your child sort through emotional struggles and effectively overcome depression with other techniques. Getting help for self-injury is NOT a hopeless effort. The sooner you act, the sooner you will be able to enjoy a happy, healthy life once again.

If you or someone you know is in need of self-harm counseling, reach out to the therapists at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers in Michigan by calling (248) 244-8644.

Adolescent Suicide

Teen Suicide Concerns

No parent wants to think that their child may want to end his or her life. However, the fact is some adolescents reach a point in their lives when the burdens they carry become more than they can manage and they feel the only way of escape is death.

Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for individuals aged 10-24 years old. In 2003, 8% (approximately 1 million) adolescents attempted suicide, of whom 1,700 died. More than 1 in 10 high school   students have attempted suicide, and almost 20% of high school students have seriously considered suicide. Adolescent girls are four times more likely to attempt suicide than boys, but boys account for 81% of completed suicide. Boys tend to use more fatal methods of suicide such as firearms, while girls’ suicide attempts usually involve drug overdose.

Unfortunately, there is no one warning sign that parents can look for to indicate with certainty that their child is suicidal or is about to make an attempt. Some signs  parents may notice include hearing their teen excessively talking about committing suicide, dying, or disappearing. This would include writing such comments on homework assignments, in journals, or on social media formats like Facebook or Instagram. Suicidal adolescents may also express hopelessness and withdraw from family and friends, end close relationships, and give away personal possessions. Parents of suicidal teens may notice a drastic change in their child’s appearance, behavior, and personality characteristics, including not only becoming more depressed but also more erratic.

In recent years, parents have become increasingly concerned that if the media covers the suicide of an   adolescent in the news, other adolescents would be more likely to end their lives. This phenomenon is known as the “copycat effect.” Limited research indicates that adolescent suicide does appear to increase due to media coverage; however, this is most likely to occur only with adolescents who are already at higher risk for suicide. Explanations for this phenomenon include over-identification with the victim in the media story; a desire for the same type of public recognition and sympathy; or a sense of validation of their preexisting thoughts about attempting suicide.

If parents notice any of these warning signs or are concerned about their children’s behaviors, they should not wait to seek help. Parents should take every suicidal threat or warning sign seriously. If the threat is imminent, parents should seek immediate psychiatric care by taking their child to the emergency room or calling a crisis hotline such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). They should also seek outpatient therapy such as that offered at Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers.

Parents should not be afraid to talk to their children about suicide. They should be supportive of their teens and not belittle their feelings or treat them in a dismissive or degrading manner because of their suicidal thoughts. Listen closely to them, assure them that suicide is not their only option, and then take the proper steps to get them the help they need.

By: LaTanya Carter, PhD, LP

 

 

 

When Selfies Turn Into Self Harm

Self-harm wrist covered with bandage

Self harm is a growing problem in America, particularly among teenagers and young adults. It is difficult to say just how widespread this issue is because so many sufferers do not seek help for their self injury. Some experts estimate that 1% of the U.S. population engages in self-abusive behavior, including body mutilation and eating disorders. If you have used self harm as a coping mechanism for trauma, depression, anxiety, or self-loathing, you are not alone.

Study Connects Selfies With Self Harm

A recent study in the UK shows that teenagers may turn to the internet to trigger their self-harm. Researchers at Cardiff University found that many teens use social media to share pictures of their self-harm, and some use this process to inspire acts of self-harm. Dr. Nina Jacob, the qualitative researcher for the study, said, “We found young people are going online to specifically to seek out certain pictures and images of injuries often to precisely prompt an episode of self-harm.” Dr. Jacob said this process soon becomes a ritual, where teens “seek out that picture to almost get a high or a trigger and then they will go off and self-harm.”

Reasons Why Teens Self Harm

There are many reasons why a teenager may turn to body mutilation. Some of the most common triggers include:

  • Cutting Or Burning The Skin As Self-Punishment
  • Coping With Stress, Anxiety, Or Feelings Of Inadequacy
  • Feeling Worthless Or Useless
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Feelings Of Depression, Often Coupled With Suicidal Thoughts
  • Thinking Self-Injury Is “Cool” (Wanting To Fit In)
  • Body Dysmorphia And Self-Loathing

There is always an underlying reason why a person will turn to self-harm. The act brings on a rush of emotions similar to that of substance abuse or alcoholism. Many teens who experience self-harm also suffer from drug addiction, eating disorders, anxiety, and more. Luckily, there are treatment options available to help teens cope with their emotions without self mutilating.

When To Get Help

If you feel the need to self-harm, reach out to a counselor, friend, or family member about the struggles you are facing. No matter what may be going on in your life, self injurious behavior will not make it easier. Instead of putting scars on your body, you must learn to manage your stress in a healthy, productive way. Speak to one of our counselors / therapists at Perspectives Of Troy to learn more about self-harm treatment and stress management. Call us at: 248.244.8644, as “You Need Not Walk Alone”.   We really can help.

ADHD Increases Risk Of Suicide And Self-Harm After Childhood Trauma

ADHD Childhood Traumas And Suicide Prevention

ADHD and childhood trauma are both influential on a child’s mental health growing up, but a new study from the University of California – Berkeley shows the detriment that comes when these two factors combine. Researchers have determined that children with ADHD who are exposed to abuse or neglect are more at risk of developing eating disorders, inflicting self-harm, and attempting suicide than those who do not encounter traumas in their childhood. This is especially true for young women.

The Link Between Childhood Trauma And ADHD

The study from UC Berkeley did not set out to prove that trauma causes ADHD, or vice versa. Instead, the researchers sought to look at children who face both conditions. The lead author of the study, Maya Guendelman, a Ph.D. student in psychology, said, “In the United States, we have a large contingent of kids being diagnosed with ADHD. At the same time, 10 to 20 percent of U.S. kids are abused or neglected. But we have very limited understanding of the overlap between these two groups.”

Guendelman poses an interesting question: What if some symptoms of hyperactivity consistent with ADHD are misinterpreted in children who encounter neglect or abuse? Could their actions be the result of an underlying problem at home that is enhancing the effects of their ADHD?

The Study

To assess the impact of trauma and ADHD on childhood development, the researchers used data from the Berkeley Girls with ADHD Longitudinal Study. This study tracked the development of 140 different girls with ADHD from childhood to adulthood, starting in 1997. BGALS found that girls are more likely to internalize their ADHD symptoms than boys, resulting in an increased risk of self-harm, suicide, eating disorders, and other conditions.

Guendelman and her team took these results a step further and looked into how many women with ADHD reported incidents of sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect in their childhood. They found that one in four women with ADHD were exposed to trauma in childhood, compared to one in nine in the non-ADHD control group. Guendelman said, “Our findings clearly support the contention that child or adolescent maltreatment specifically is an important risk factor for maladaptive functioning in young adulthood among women with childhood ADHD, particularly with respect to depression, anxiety, and suicidal behavior.”

Improving A Child’s Quality Of Life With ADHD Therapy

No child should be exposed to trauma, but the study from UC Berkeley shows that children with ADHD may be more susceptible to the adverse effects of trauma than non-ADHD children. If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, you can work with a therapist to improve his or her condition as a whole. Contact Perspectives Of Troy today at (248) 244-8644 to speak with a counselor about your child’s options.