It is difficult for parents to see their adolescent child struggle with mental health challenges. Suicide can be a tough subject to broach. Although suicide is a highly sensitive topic, it should never be avoided, especially if suicidal ideation is present. Granted, it can be difficult to recognize the signs of suicidal ideation. Fortunately, Clearview Girls Academy’s therapeutic programs and parent weekend workshops can help parents learn how to talk about suicide. These specific programs can teach families effective strategies for openly discussing suicide. Participating in such services can help families take the steps needed to address a loved one’s suicidal ideations.

Understanding Suicidal Ideation

According to the publication Suicidal Ideation, by Bonnie Harmer, Sarah Lee, Truc vi H. Duong, and Abdolreza Saadabadi, if someone is having thoughts about taking their life or thinking of different ways to commit suicide, this is defined as suicidal ideation. Suicidal ideation is a broad term characterized by a range of wishes, contemplations, and preoccupations with death.

These ideations can occur in an ebb-and-flow manner. Therefore, the various characteristics of suicidal ideation tend to fluctuate dramatically. For example, an individual may have a sudden wish to fall asleep and never wake up. Someone may also experience disturbing deep thoughts about self-annihilation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. The CDC estimates that approximately 48,000 individuals committed suicide in 2021. What’s more, about 12.3 million individuals experienced thoughts of suicide and roughly 3.5 million adults formulated a plan. Also, 1.7 million adults made a suicide attempt.

The Warning Signs of Suicide

Not everybody experiences suicidal thoughts or has made suicidal attempts. If someone does experience suicidal ideation, it is often kept secret. Many people have emotionally charged reactions when it comes to the topic of suicide. Therefore, not many people talk about this matter. If one chooses to open up about their history with suicidal ideation, it is often shared with a mental health therapist rather than with family or friends.

People of any age tend to fear that if they open up to peers or loved ones who do not understand their mental health condition, they will be judged or called “crazy.” However, if family members take time to comprehend the warning signs of suicide, they can take steps to address the situation. Doing so can potentially save a loved one’s life.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), warning signs of suicide to look out for might include:

  • Intense shame or guilt
  • Feeling like a burden to others
  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Presenting intense feelings of rage
  • Expressing unbearable emotional and physical pain
  • Researching different ways to die
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Experiencing a recent fascination with death
  • Presenting irregular sleeping patterns
  • Withdrawing from loved ones
  • Self-medicating with drugs and/or alcohol

Helpful Strategies for Talking About Suicide

As parents, it can be difficult to witness teenagers struggling with their mental health. What’s more, sometimes taking the wrong approach can worsen the parent-child relationship. Effective communication is imperative in helping adolescents open up about what is causing their suicidal ideation. It is crucial to find appropriate strategies for effectively discussing a child’s mental health challenges. Tips for successfully communicating the risks of suicide might consist of:

  • Asking why they are feeling such intense emotions
  • Talking about the trauma linked to their rage
  • Staying simple and honest when responding
  • Allowing them to express themselves without judgment
  • Providing resources, information, and support

Steps to Take to Address a Loved One’s Thoughts About Suicide

Learning a loved one is experiencing suicidal ideation can cause both parents to feel a great deal of shock. Many parents may be so consumed with their busy lifestyle that they may be blindsided by their teenager’s behavior. It may seem nearly impossible to slow down and develop a closer relationship. However, communicating about and addressing the situation is imperative for creating a good outcome.

In a non-emergency situation, exploring different ways to address a loved one’s suicidal ideation may be beneficial for both the child and parents. These strategies might include:

  • Providing family support
  • Participating in different types of psychotherapy
  • Attending family programs
  • Encouraging peer support
  • Considering addiction and mental health treatment

How Clearview Girls Academy’s Therapy and Parent Workshop Weekends Can Help Families

Not many families understand the steps required to have an open and empathetic conversation about suicide. Discussing what parents can do if they discover their daughter is suicidal can be uncomfortable for everyone. However, taking time to sit down with a specialist at Clearview Girls Academy and developing a comprehensive treatment plan together can provide the comfort needed to potentially save a loved one’s life.

Although emotion-based therapy, academic support, and life mentoring can help a loved one stay on track in recovery, parent workshop weekends can keep parents engaged with their child’s treatment plan. Weekend workshops can provide parents with the tools needed to maintain mental stability at home. Through these weekends, families can learn strategies for supporting their daughter’s self-awareness, confidence, and self-esteem. These weekends can help parents effectively communicate with their daughters about suicide and improve their relationships in the long run. Everyone deserves to heal, and professional help can significantly improve a family’s future.

At Clearview Girls Academy, we provide a unique residential treatment program that offers a powerful combination of individualized and family therapy. We help troubled teen girls overcome difficult emotional issues such as attachment disorders, attention deficits, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, self-destructive or antisocial behavior, and addictions. What’s more, we can help girls who are experiencing suicidal ideation. Additionally, several times a year, the therapists at Clearview Girls Academy provide a weekend workshop for our girls’ parents. We strive to not only build healthier and happier futures for our girls but also to help families support each other through these challenges. If you are having difficulty talking about suicide with your daughter, call Clearview Girls Academy at (888) 796-5484 for support.