All week we’ve been discussing the serious topic of self-mutilation and cutting. We’ve discussed why someone may self-harm, how to react to someone who cuts, and how to communicate concern with someone who feels tempted to hurt themselves. The next step is getting in this process is getting professional help. A trained professional can help can help with:
This week, Imagine Hope Counseling is discussing a difficult topic-- suicide. Our goal is always suicide prevention, but tragically, suicide is not able to be prevented nearly as often as we would hope. What are some ways you can survive the suicide of a friend or loved one? Surviving the Suicide of a Friend or Loved One
It is dire that you get help if you are dealing with a teen who is contemplating or has tried committing suicide. This is something that professionals can help you navigate and definitely something you don't want to do on your own. We have discussed the statistics, risk factors, and warning signs this week. Now what do you do to get help?
The alarmingly high rate of suicide in the U.S. emphasizes the extreme need for continual education on suicide for our youth. Suicide rates in adolescents and youth remain unacceptably high in the United States. It is our hope that through continual education to the public on the statistics, risk factors, warning signs, and possible intervention strategies for suicide, that we will collectively work together and begin to see those numbers decline. That's why Imagine Hope is dedicating an entire week to educating our readers
The alarmingly high rate of suicide in the U.S. emphasizes the extreme need for continual education on suicide for our youth. Suicide rates in adolescents and youth remain unacceptably high in the United States. It is our hope that through continual education to the public on the statistics, risk factors, warning signs, and possible intervention strategies for suicide, that we will collectively work together and begin to see those numbers decline. That's why Imagine Hope is dedicating an entire week to educating our readers.
The subject of ambiguous loss is a relatively new one to me, as it relates to therapy, but is one that we frequently see with our clients (as well as in our own lives!). Pauline Boss' book "Ambiguous Loss: Learning To Live With Unresolved Grief" is one of the most amazing books I have read so far this spring! What is Ambiguous Loss?
Ambiguous Loss is when you have no closure with loss, or when loss is surrounded by uncertainty and ambiguity-- examples of this are divorce, addictions, infidelity, dealing with an aging parent, coping with the loss of a missing child, dealing with a relationship breakup, just to name a few. Unlike death, which has finality and an ending, ambiguous loss can be traumatic in that the survivors of this type of loss still have to deal with so much uncertainty in the healing process. The two ways Boss explains this type of loss: When a person is present physically, but is psychologically or emotionally absent (e.g., divorce, relationship break up, mental illness, alzheimer's disease)-- or when a person is physically absent, but is still psychologically or emotionally present (e.g., a missing child, a soldier who is missing in action).
This book not only explains ambiguous loss, but helps the reader to recognize how this type of loss is surrounded by fluctuating feelings of hope to hopelessness, while trying to make sense and find meaning in such loss.
If you recognize an area where you might be dealing with ambiguous loss, this book is highly recommended!
For clinician's working with Ambiguous Loss in therapy, Pauline Boss' book "Loss, Trauma, and Resilience: Therapeutic Work with Ambiguous Loss" is a great reference in working with clients, as well.
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.
Given the statistics Teri wrote about on Monday, and the risk factors Tamara wrote about yesterday, its is important to know the warning signs. While there aren’t always outwardly noticeable warning signs that a person is contemplating taking their own life, there can sometimes be signs that point to possible suicidal thoughts or plans. Sometimes you will see one or two. Sometimes there will be many. Sometimes you won’t see any signs until it is too late. Every situation is different and unique. Trust your instincts. If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong, the chances are, it probably is.
- A previous suicide attempt
- Depression, great sadness
- Changes in academic performance
- Marked changes in personality and mood (including an uncharacteristic change from a period of depressed or sad mood to one that seems very happy, cheerful and peaceful, for no apparent outward reason. Sometimes this can indicate that a person has made the decision to attempt suicide, and is finally “at peace” with, or have found a “solution” to their pain)
- Talking about suicide, talking about “going away”, saying that life isn’t worth living, wanting to die, expressing feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness
- Giving away personal possessions, cleaning their room and throwing things out they own
- Expressing extreme feelings of guilt or shame (feeling like a bad person who doesn’t have the right to live)
- Feelings of isolation and loneliness
- Isolating behavior, such as withdrawing from activities, pulling away from family and friends
- Overly social or emotional behavior that appears out of place to recent mood and behavior—(e.g., making connections with important friendships or relationships from the past that might be a person’s way of saying goodbye)
- Changes in eating habits and appetite
- Changes to sleep patterns (sleeping excessively, not sleeping well, waking early in the morning, waking intermittently during the night)
- Inability to concentrate
- Having difficulty communicating (being unable to talk or having great difficulty talking)
- Losing interest in things they previously enjoyed
- Loss of interest in personal appearance
- Marks of self-harming, such as scratches, burns, or wounds on the body
- Sudden marked behavioral changes, such as restlessness or reckless behavior (driving too fast, taking inappropriate risks)
- Alcohol and Drug use (including abuse of prescription drugs, over the counter drugs, and use of illegal substances)
- Having a friend or family member who has committed suicide
If you are concerned about a teen who is showing warning signs, please talk to the teen ask them how they feel. If you feel your teen is in danger, call 1-800-SUICIDE or call 911. Please check back with us tomorrow as Natalie writes about how to get help for a loved one who is at risk of teen suicide.
Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapy, family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield