August 15, 2023
Table of Contents
The teenage years are full of change and can be a difficult time, which can lead to an increased risk of suicide or suicidal ideation. It is important to support your teen through this time of growth and change. You should also remain vigilant for any signs of trouble for your teen.
What is suicidal ideation?
When a teen experiences thoughts of wanting to die, this is suicidal ideation. This may also be accompanied by suicidal behavior. The act of taking one’s own life on purpose is suicide.
In 2021, there were approximately 15 young adults out of 100,000 young adults who committed suicide. In young adults, suicide is the second most common cause of death. Male young adults are four times more likely to die by suicide. Female young adults are more likely to attempt to commit suicide. More than half of young adult suicides are done with guns.
What can cause suicidal ideation?
There is no single cause to trigger suicide or suicidal ideation. The teenage years can affect each person differently. You may be worried that if you speak to your teenager, it may make them more likely to act on their suicidal ideation. However, by showing concern, it can help remind your teen how loved and supported they truly are.
Factors that can increase the risk of suicidal ideation include:
- Mental health conditions — Teens who have been diagnosed with a mood disorder like depression or have a trauma- or stress-related condition may have an increased risk.
- Substance use — Participating in high-risk behavior can be masking other issues at play.
- Health conditions — If your teen has a painful, chronic or potentially terminal health condition, they may be more likely to experience suicidal ideation.
- Chronic stressful environment — If your teenager is dealing with harassment or bullying, they may feel helpless and feel like they have no other way to escape.
- History — Having a family history of suicide or having previously attempted suicide can lead to an increased risk of suicidal ideation.
- Sexual orientation struggles — An unsupportive environment of certain sexual orientations can lead to a teen’s struggle of coming out or even lead to an increased suicide risk.
Warning statements of suicidal ideation
Certain behaviors or statements can alert you to the concern of suicidal ideation. Potential warning signs can sound like:
- “I wish I was dead.”
- “I just want to disappear.”
- “The world would be better off without me.”
- “I’m going to commit suicide.”
- “I won’t be around much longer.”
- “Nobody will miss me.”
- “I can’t take this anymore.”
- “That’s the last straw.”
- “No one cares about me.”
It is important to take these types of comments seriously when expressed by your teen. Even if you believe they are made in jest, it could actually be a cry for help and support. If your teen is making any comments about death or dying and they are accompanied by a drastic personality or physical change, they may be crying out for help.
How to help your teen with their suicidal ideation struggle
If your teenager is expressing or experiencing any warning signs of suicidal ideation, you should ask them if they are thinking of committing suicide. If you are concerned that they are in imminent danger, you should call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 to get them immediate help.
Other ways to help your teen with their suicidal ideation struggle can include:
- Talking openly about mental health — Mental health struggles still have a huge stigma. Being open and honest about your own mental health struggles may make your teen feel more comfortable about being open about or seeking help for their own struggles.
- Empathizing and not criticizing — Ask what support they need and don’t diminish their struggles. Just because they aren’t dealing with “adult” issues doesn’t mean their struggles are invalid. Thank them for trusting you with their issues and let them know you understand that it was difficult for them to ask for help.
Treatment options for suicidal ideation
If your teenager is experiencing suicidal ideation, they deserve immediate and qualified assistance from a licensed mental health professional. At Lightfully, suicidal ideation treatment options can include:
- Residential Treatment — Residential Treatment provides clients with around-the-clock care with individualized treatment plans.
- Partial Hospitalization — Partial Hospitalization Treatment is a step down from full Residential Treatment. It still provides around-the-clock care with individualized treatment plans.
- Intensive Outpatient Treatment — Intensive Outpatient Treatment is a treatment program providing teen clients with intensive care needed for their mental health during the day and staying in their home overnight. Treatment is individualized to meet your teen’s needs.
In our Teen treatment programs, certain clinical services are typically used including:
- Medication — Many teens struggling with suicidal ideation may be experiencing severe depression that may require more intensive treatment than just therapy. Medication may be prescribed to benefit your teen’s recovery the best.
- Individual therapy — In individual therapy, a therapist will be working one on one with your teen to help them work through their struggles and learn how to cope in a healthy manner.
- Group therapy — Your teen may benefit from group therapy with others also struggling with suicidal ideation. Knowing that they aren’t alone may help them.
- Family therapy — Suicidal ideation and suicide affects the whole family, not just the teen struggling with it. Therapy can educate the family on suicidal ideation and help them learn how to best support each other.
Lightfully Teen wants to help you help your teen through their struggle with suicidal ideation
Suicide and suicidal ideation can be a difficult and heartbreaking struggle. Our mission at Lightfully Teen is to compassionately help teens change and improve their lives. Lightfully’s licensed clinical therapists see more than a struggle with suicidal ideation; they see the whole complex human. We strive to provide our clients with premier care designed to their individual needs.
We’re here to help your teen learn how to cope in a healthy way with negative thoughts and emotions leading them to struggle with suicidal ideation. The feelings and emotions they are dealing with are a valid part of the human experience, and we strive to help them achieve their goals of improving their quality of life.
Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.