We know more than it seems about how to prevent teen suicide

We know more than it seems about how to prevent teen suicide

Curated via Twitter from Mashable’s twitter account….

Common sense approaches effective for preventing suicide in general — like talking about mental health and asking specifically about suicide, making a safety plan, restricting lethal means, identifying "gatekeepers" trained to spot suicide risk factors and warning signs and provide resources, and knowing what to look for in a treatment — can also help save teens’ lives.

She says that maintaining her recovery, along with the new skills she’d learned, took hard work at first and then eventually felt like a natural instinct. (Allen’s gratitude for her experience has extended to fundraising for Children’s Health; she’s raised thousands of dollars to benefit SPARC through dance performances in the past few years. ) A study of SPARC’s outcomes found that patients were overwhelmingly satisfied with the program and that it improved depression and suicidal thinking and behavior.

Lisa Horowitz, a staff scientist and pediatric psychologist at the National Institutes of Health who works on suicide prevention, says conversations about mental health between caregivers and children can start at an early age, with an emphasis on developing lifelong coping skills for dealing with stress and emotional highs and lows.

Allen says that the program, known as Suicide Prevention and Resilience in Children (SPARC), is where she first learned about coping skills, including a technique for evaluating her thoughts for unhelpful thinking patterns.

When Lily Allen enrolled in the outpatient program at Children’s Health in Dallas, she found the emphasis on group, individual, and multi-family therapy, in combination with DBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, and learning coping skills, dramatically improved her ability to handle suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Cheryl King, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Michigan who studies suicide prevention, believes the approach can have positive benefits because adults in regular contact with youth may be best positioned to recognize suicide risk, and because it uses human connection to bring an individual’s risk out into the open, which is followed by a caring effort to get a teen the resources they need.

This complex dynamic is partly why it feels challenging to detect suicide risk among teens, and it’s why suicide prevention experts urge adults learn the warning signs and start conversations about mental health with the young people in their lives.

Jeff Bridge, an epidemiologist and director of the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at the Abigail Wexner Research Institute Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, is working with other researchers to adapt an effective suicide prevention program for adults known as Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) for 5- to 11-year-olds. (One of the collaborators is David Jobes, the researcher who developed CAMS).

The results need to be replicated with a control group in order to consider SPARC an effective treatment for the broader population, but the program’s preliminary success points to a future in which teens can access numerous suicide prevention programs.

Horowitz says coping skills like talking to a trusted adult, calling a crisis or suicide hotline, connecting with a good friend, or taking a walk can help quiet or reduce intrusive thoughts.

Link to original article….

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