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How To Help Someone Struggling With Thoughts of Suicide

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Woman suffering from Postpartum depression

According to the CDC, more than 38,000 Americans commit suicide each year. While we often think of suicide in relation to teens or the younger population, middle-aged males make up the majority of suicides in the U.S.

Suicide can be the result of any number of issues that someone is facing. However, an estimated 90% of people who committed suicide were suffering from substance abuse issues or a mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder or PTSD. Suicide can be the tragic answer that some turn to when they feel they have no other options.

Warning Signs

Suicide can be difficult to prevent. However, if you are aware of the warning signs you may be able to help a person who is struggling. Some warning signs of suicide are:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being a burden to others
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Depression
  • Loss of interest or withdrawing from activities

Keep in mind this is not a complete list of the warning signs of suicide. Therefore, if you suspect that someone you care about may be contemplating suicide, read on to find out what you can do to help them.

What to do if you suspect someone may be suicidal

  • Be open to talking with them and listening to what they have to say.
  • Try not to discredit their feelings or minimize their problems. Focus on validating them for how they feel.
  • Let someone else know.
  • If the person doesn’t seem to be in immediate danger: encourage them to seek help from a mental health professional or doctor.
  • If the person seems to be in immediate danger: stay with them and contact a suicide prevention resource or accompany them to the emergency room or to mental health services.

Furthermore, if you or someone you know think they may be suffering from a mental illness, it is key to begin treatment as soon as possible. As a result, this can help to prevent the symptoms from worsening and lessen the likelihood of them resorting to suicide.

Resources For Suicide

Some additional resources that may be helpful for someone who is thinking about suicide or someone looking to help are:

Those who are suicidal often times will not reach out for help. Sometimes the simplest things like letting someone know that you are there for them can give them the hope they need to open up to someone and potentially save their life.

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Teens and Self Harm

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
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Being A Teen Today

Teenage years are a very volatile and unpredictable time in a person’s life. They are too old to be considered children but still too young and immature to be considered adults. Frankly many parents are not fundamentally aware of the inherent distinction between the two stages, nor do they realise that the progression from child to adulthood is gradual. At this stage of life their hormones begin to go haywire as they prepare to cruise into adulthood. Often things such as peer pressure, bullying, disagreements, abuse and just plain ignorance can derail this delicate progression for teens.

At this stage of life teens require lots of understanding and patience. Teen counseling is very important to ensure that the chosen path into adulthood is navigated effectively. So many things can derail their progress that it’s a constant battle to make sure your words don’t fall on deaf ears. When teens find themselves in untenable situations sometimes they resort to self harm.

What Does Self Harm Look Like?

Self harm may include taking legal and illegal drugs, cutting themselves or engaging in high risk activities. Self harm can be a coping mechanism for dealing with pain, disappointment, neglect or abuse. When a teen is self harming it is very seldom that they will share this information with parents or guardians. This is when you know the situation has become indefensible and has pushed that teen to this extreme. Teens usually cut themselves in places that will not be easily visible like the arm and upper thighs that can be covered by long sleeves and pants.

How To Help Your Teen

It is paramount these at-risk teens get counseling before their actions lead to a more serious situation like them seriously or permanently hurting themselves or others. Listening is the most important step when counseling teens. Most often teens will continue to self harm when they feel that parents are judgemental and hypocritical towards them or lay blame squarely on their shoulders for any and all situations.

Reassuring your teen that help is available and things can improve is important. Some teens engaging in self harm feel a sense of hopelessness about things getting better and you want to reassure them that things can get better. Teens need to know someone is listening and that they have an outlet to air their frustrations and disappointment. They also need to know that there is always a different side, a better side to every situation.

To learn more about our services for teens visit: https://www.collaborativemn.com/counseling-services/teen-counseling


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Childhood Depression

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
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Childhood depression is much more common that you may know. According to the U.S. Center for Mental Health Services, as many as one in every 33 children and one in eight adolescents may have clinical depression.

What is depression?

Clinical depression is sadness that extends beyond being sad about particular situations or events (e.g. being sad about a breakup or sad about the death of a loved one). In addition, Clinical depression involves a prolonged sense of feeling sad that gets in the way of doing things the person wants to do.

Signs of depression in children

  • Sadness and hopelessness for weeks at a time
  • Withdrawal from friends and/or activities they used to enjoy
  • Irritability or being easily agitated
  • Missing school or a significant decline in grades
  • Changes in eating
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Low confidence/self-esteem
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Lack of energy and motivation
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty concentrating

Help is available for a child or teen with depression

Collaborative Counseling provides specialized therapy services for children as young as age 3 up through adulthood. Our services are available in:

We provide play therapy for young and school age children. This has been shown to be effective in helping children overcome depression. To learn more about play therapy visit: http://collaborativemn.com/play-therapy/

Also, for older children and teens we provide a variety of different ways to help your child learn the skills they need. They can learn how to cope with their emotions, relationships and everyday challenges of our modern world. While counseling with children often involves a family component.  Furthermore, family counseling can help parents and other family members learn how to support the person who is struggling with depression.

What should you do if your child is exhibiting depression symptoms?

First of all, if you suspect your child is struggling with depression, get them help immediately. Therefore, we recommend bringing your child in to talk with a counselor or psychologist to clarify the symptoms as soon as possible. The counselor or psychologist will be able to provide you recommendations for treatment to help your child through their depression as well as any other areas of concern.

Finally, if  you are not quite ready to see a counselor or therapist, we recommend sharing your concerns with your child’s pediatrician or primary care physician. Most general practice clinics can also help assess whether your child may be suffering from depression or another emotional health issue.


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