One of the most stressful times in people’s lives is their teenage years. This is due to the growing pains that come from transitioning from childhood into young adulthood. Because being a teenager is stressful, it’s not uncommon for teenagers to struggle with mental health issues. Unfortunately, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety can easily lead to suicidal ideation in teens if not dealt with properly. At Ridge RTC, we don’t take this topic lightly, which is why we offer the best treatment for suicidal ideation in teens in the nation.
Suicidal Ideation Explained
Suicidal ideation is the behavior of continuously thinking about and imagining oneself committing suicide. Suicidal ideations often also include negative and distorted thoughts such as believing that the world would be better off if one wasn’t alive or had never been born.
Suicidal Ideation vs. Planning to Commit Suicide
While suicidal ideations clearly indicate mental health issues in teens, it’s important to note that suicidal ideations and planning to commit suicide are two different things. In fact, many people with suicidal ideations will never plan or attempt to commit suicide.
Still, all people should take suicidal ideation seriously as it’s technically the first stage that a person goes through when he or she may possibly start down the path of one day committing suicide. The second stage that people go through before getting to the point where they commit suicide is making a concrete plan to do so.
The third and final stage is the actual act of committing suicide. Usually, the second and third stages of suicide only occur 48 hours apart from one another. Thus, to most effectively stop individuals from committing suicide, people that suffer from suicidal ideations should seek mental health treatment immediately.
Why is Suicidal Ideation in Teens Common?
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, suicidal ideation in teens is common because of the growing pains that come with transitioning from childhood to young adulthood. These growing pains often include the following:
As children get older and become teenagers, they start to get a taste of more adult-like problems and responsibilities. For example, they start to become old enough to drive a car or get a job if they so choose.
Because teenagers are clearly further along in physical and mental development than young children and are no longer perceived as being naive, parents and adults also tend to hold teenagers much more accountable for their actions than their younger counterparts. This can add stress to a teenager’s life.
As children enter their teenage years, they start to be held much more accountable for their academic performance as well. This is because how teenagers perform academically in high school is the biggest deciding factor as to what college they’ll be able to get into, which then can impact their future careers and the rest of their lives. The high stakes that often come with a teenager’s academic performance can tip an already anxious teenager over the deep end and cause him or her to start to struggle with suicidal ideations.
Once children enter their teenage years, their romantic relationships even have higher stakes to them. This is partly because teenagers are going through puberty and starting to discover themselves sexually and what they want out of romantic relationships.
As children enter their teen years, they often become more susceptible to experiencing sexual abuse due to being more physically developed. While teenagers are further along in their physical and mental development than young children, it’s important to note that their bodies and brains are still not fully developed yet. Thus, experiencing high levels of trauma, such as sexual abuse, can easily cause a teenager to start to suffer from mental illness, suicidal ideations, and eventually suicide.
Treatment for PTSD in young adults and teens can be a differentiator in young people’s lives. This is mainly because therapy and treatment programs help give them the tools they need to be able to cope with their life experiences.
As children become teenagers and start to become more aware of the relational issues that surround them, their family trauma can trigger teenage suicidal thoughts in themselves as well. For example, dealing with a dying family member or economic strife in the home can add stress to a teenager’s already stressful life.
A family history of suicide and abuse can also cause suicidal ideation in teens. This is because people often replicate the behaviors that they were taught growing up. Therefore, if a teenager spent all of his or her youth witnessing family members cope with stress by being abusive to one another or threatening to commit suicide, that teenager will likely start to do the same as he or she starts to deal with more stress in life.
Many people start to experiment with drugs and alcohol in their teen years. Unfortunately, substance abuse issues often result in dual diagnosis in teens. Therefore, many teens that abuse substances to the point where they develop substance abuse issues also develop mental health issues. Such mental health issues can later turn into teenage suicidal thoughts.
It’s not uncommon for bullying to occur in middle school and high school. Such teenage bullying can come in the form of physical assault, mentally bullying a person through social manipulation and/or verbal assault, or cyberbullying. Bullying in middle schools and high schools often gets so bad that many teens who are victims of bullying start to suffer from mental health issues and suicidal ideations.
Due to advances in technology and the pandemic, people don’t socialize with one another in person as much as they seemingly used to. As a result, loneliness has become an epidemic.
Because teenagers are in the stage of life when they are discovering who they are and their social relationships are arguably the most important relationships in their lives, it’s not uncommon for teenagers that are suffering from loneliness today to start to develop mental health issues that lead to suicidal ideations.
In many ways, people discover who they are during their teenage years. Thus, it isn’t surprising that many people struggle with their sexual identity during their teenage years. This is especially true since teenagers go through puberty and are thus, highly hormonal. Unfortunately, struggling with one’s sexual identity often leads to mental health issues and suicidal ideation in teens.
Oftentimes, adults don’t take the words of teens seriously. As a result, many teenagers that clearly suffer from suicidal ideations never receive the support that they need to get better.
Teenagers that don’t receive professional teen mental health treatment are in danger of progressing through the stages of suicide and one day killing themselves. Therefore, it’s important that individuals that suffer from teenage suicidal thoughts receive mental health treatment as soon as possible.
Data and Statistics on Teen Suicide
Many people don’t realize how pervasive teenage suicidal thoughts and suicide itself are amongst teenagers today. To show how pervasive teenage suicidal thoughts are, below are some data and statistics on teen suicide.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death in the United States amongst individuals who are between the ages of 15-24.
- According to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Report produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2019, 15.7% of students made a plan for how they would attempt to commit suicide.
- In 2019, 8.9% of students committed suicide.
- 2.5% of students in 2019 made a suicide attempt that was severe enough for them to need medical treatment.
- According to the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Report, black students were the most likely to commit suicide.
- According to the CDC, 1 in 5, or 18.8% of U.S. youth have seriously considered attempting suicide.
- According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, Network, the rate of teen suicide is 3.5 times greater for LGBTQ teens than for their heterosexual, cisgender peers.
Signs and Symptoms of Suicidal Ideation in Teens
There are numerous signs and symptoms of teenage suicidal thoughts. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of suicidal ideation in teens are listed below.
- Stating that they want to commit suicide
- Expressions of hopelessness
- Exhibiting risky behaviors
- Mood swings
- Obsession with death
- Searching for things that they could use to commit suicide online
- Major changes in the teen’s behavior
- Sudden negative changes in a teen’s academic performance
- Sudden change in teen’s friends and social circle
- Neglecting one’s personal appearance
- Poor sleeping habits
- Poor eating habits
- Loss of interest in things that once interested them
- Trouble focusing
How to Help a Teen That Struggles with Suicidal Ideations
There are many things that a person can do to help a teenager that’s suffering from suicidal ideations. Some of the biggest things that a person can do include:
As briefly mentioned earlier, many adults don’t take what teens say and do seriously. As a result, many teens that literally, verbally express their suicidal thoughts, never receive help from others. To rectify this huge issue, adults should start to really listen to the things that teens say.
If a teen continuously expresses wanting to die or has dark thoughts about death along with some of the other signs of suicidal ideation, try to get the teen to consider receiving mental health treatment. Through mental health treatment, teenagers can learn to cope with stress and anxiety through healthy ways.
Many people feel the need to degrade and insult teenagers. Thus, simply being supportive of a teen, his or her ambitions, and his or her physical and mental well-being can make a teenager feel comfortable receiving the mental health treatment that he or she needs.
Suicidal ideation in teens is a serious issue that can lead to suicide if left untreated. Thus, the best thing that a person can do to help a teenager with suicidal thoughts is to get him or her to receive professional suicidal ideation treatment.
Individuals can receive professional suicidal ideation treatment at certain mental health treatment facilities. Teenagers with suicidal thoughts can also receive residential mental health treatment for their conditions at Ridge RTC in southeastern New Hampshire.
Ridge RTC Can Help
Ridge RTC is a mental health treatment center that specializes in providing residential mental health treatment for teens. The mental health treatment program here at Ridge RTC prioritizes therapy, increased structure, higher levels of supervision, physical exercise through outdoor, experiential activities, and fewer distractions. That way Ridge RTC is a supportive and caring environment for teens with intensive care needs.
Ridge RTC offers multiple treatment options, each of which is tailored to meet each patient’s individual needs. To learn more about Ridge RTC and how it can help treat your teen’s suicidal ideations, contact us today. Get your teenager to feel happy and productive again.