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Teen Suicide Prevention

Updated on June 28, 2009

Supportive and non-judgmental Crisis Intervention

Whether between family members or peers, the best support is that which was nurtured before a crisis has a chance to develop. Many families avoid having to get outside help for a couple of very important reasons. They are afraid of what others might think of them. Moreover, They fear their own feelings of inadequacy at parenting and that If anything bad happens it will be the fault of the parent.

Those who are encouraged to communicate within the family, and those who are discouraged from engaging in family secrets tend to work through a potential crisis before it has a chance to escalate. It's important to remember that finding fault seldom contributes much to solving anything.

Parents who feel threatened by a child's natural curiosity and are uncomfortable with some subjects send the message that "yes , we support you, but there are certain things we don't talk about around here."  If this is the attitude a parent shows the child, they might as well expect that the avoided subject will be talked about somewhere else. When young people get the message that they can't deal with things at home, they might think there is something inside them that is wrong. This translates to : " I am no good. I am worthless and unlovable."

Teens can help each other in these situations and often keep the problem from spiraling into something that feels too out of control for them to handle. More options are available now in churches, at school, and through community classroom attendance than ever before. Families that get involved with teens in any of these alternatives will find a shared, common bond. There is great power within groups to problem solve.

Many non-professionals work suicide hot lines because they are not afraid to interact with another who is temporarily unable to make rational choices. They want to help!

All it takes is one person who can listen and point out ( but not tell them ) there are more ways to handle problems than the solution they have in mind. Above all, do not be judgmental( I have seen a parent actually dare the child ("you aren't going to do it! It's just like all the other times."). Backed into a corner with no way out, what is the one available choice they feel they have left? Those who threaten, often succeed.

Carl rogers, a highly regarded therapist of another era believed a person in pain is seeking, "unconditional, positive regard." Isn't that what a parent gives instinctively when a child is in great need?


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