Talking with your Child About Suicide

Talking With Your Child About Suicide

Talking to your child about suicide can be a nerve-racking and difficult conversation to approach. You don’t want to put them on the spot, but you want to protect your child from all forms of self-harm. The first step is to understand why you are having these concerns.

Have you noticed that your child is acting differently?





Have you noticed a change in your child's:

Sleep patterns

Eating habits

Previously enjoyed activities

Relationships with family and friends

Is your child engaging in unusual behaviors?

Substance abuse

Alcohol consumption

Risk-taking behaviors

Making poor choices

Is your child making threats?

“I wish I was dead.”

“Just kill me.”

“It’s not worth living.”

Has your child been through a major life event?

A family move, separation, or divorce

Loss of a loved one or friend, a break-up

Bullying at school

Write out a list of the concerns you may be observing and where they may be stemming from. For example, your child has moved to a new school and has been experiencing bullying. They come home and say, “Just kill me!” They have been acting reclusive, their grades are slipping, they are not eating as much and complaining that they can’t sleep. This most likely started with the move, losing former school friends, and feeling uncomfortable at the new school. Having a perspective as to why your child may be acting differently can help you gain insight. Coming into the discussion about suicide with empathy and some level of understanding will positively affect the conversation.

Starting the Conversation

Feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable is normal, and experienced by most parents being faced with the idea of having a difficult conversation about suicide. However, it is paramount to remind yourself that you are just concerned and want to help your child. Think about what you want to say and how to say it. Roleplay or rehearse the conversation beforehand. Knowing what to say will help keep you on track and lessen the stress. Choose a good time to talk. Make sure there are no distractions. During a drive home, or after dinner would be a good time with few distractions. Don’t be afraid to “schedule” a time to have a discussion. “I want to talk to you after dinner about something important.” When it’s time to talk, normalize their experience and allow the conversation walls to come down. “I know it’s been hard for you moving to a new school and dealing with that bully. You’ve been acting differently, and I’m worried about you.” Speak directly but in a non-threatening tone. Ask simply, “do you think about suicide?” If they respond “yes,” don’t overreact. Educate them that they are not alone in those thoughts. Let them know that suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in children and young adults. The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide reports that 17% of high school students admit to thinking about suicide, and 8% have attempted suicide. Make them feel comfortable talking to you about this by staying calm, expressing empathy and showing support.

Treatment Options

There are many treatment options for your child. Some places to start are:

Individual therapy

Group therapy

Family therapy

Speaking to a doctor or psychiatrist

Inpatient hospitalization

Treatment may be affected by the severity of the suicidal thoughts. Talk to your family doctor, therapist or psychiatrist to gain more insight as to how to best proceed with treatment.

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Talking with your Child About Suicide 2018-02-21T15:20:27+00:00

Therapy Methods

Therapy Methods and What to Expect

CBT, DBT, and IPT are shown to be highly effective in online therapy environments.

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Therapy Methods 2018-02-12T11:56:45+00:00

Parent Training

Parent Training for ADHD and other Childhood Disorders

Parent training is a treatment modality in which parents are provided with resources to help them parent a child with a behavioral, emotional, or developmental disorder. It is essentially a program of education to help parents adjust their behavior to the developmental needs of their child. For instance, parents of children with disruptive behaviors are taught how to set rules and define consequences for disobeying those rules. There are many different types of programs available – each specifically designed to address the symptoms of the disorder.

Parent training has become increasingly more popular as a form of treatment due in large part to recent research supporting its effectiveness. One study on the effectiveness of parent training in preschool children with ADHD found it reduced symptoms in a number of indexes, including the participants’ inattention and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms, aggression, and rule-breaking behaviors. Parent training is also shown to be effective in decreasing anxious symptoms, withdrawn/depressed symptoms, affective problems, poor social skills, somatic problems, early conduct disorder, disruptive behaviors, and overall improve a child's well-being.

In addition to helping parents cope better with their child’s symptoms, these programs help improve parent-child interactions. With many parents reporting to have improved relationships with their children after participating in a program. Parent training programs are also shown to have a positive influence on parents’ own view of their mental well-being and a decrease in family stress.

These type of training programs typically last about 10 weeks. Participating in a program with an online therapist can be highly effective as well as convenient for busy families. Therapists at Well Street are available today to design a parent training program for you and your family.

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Parent Training 2018-02-12T11:56:27+00:00

How to Help a Depressed Friend

How to Help a Depressed Friend

Do you have a depressed friend or classmate? Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects day-to-day activities and interactions. Worse, it’s a growing epidemic among adolescents. Recent studies indicate that as many as one in five teens suffers from clinical depression. From feelings of persistent sadness to fatigue and changes in eating and sleeping habits, depression can take on different forms—especially in teens.

If you know of someone—a friend, classmate, etc.—that’s suffering from depression, it’s important that you give them the support, help, and encouragement they need on their road to recovery.

Below are five tips to keep in mind when helping a friend and what to say to someone that is depressed.

  1. Research

One of the first things you can do is research depression topics. There are tons of resources and information on the web to help you better understand where your friend is coming from. The more informed you are, the better help and encouragement you can provide.

Moreover, Gregory Dalack, M.D., chair of the department of psychiatry at the University of Michigan explains, “The key thing is to help the [depressed] person know that you understand that they’re ill. A lot of people view depression as some sort of character flaw. To let someone know that you understand that this is an illness that needs to be treated is important.”

Besides the basics (what it is, symptoms, and treatment) it’s important that you also understand that recovery is different for each person and learn what part you can play in the treatment process. Learn about the different kinds of therapy methods.

  1. Be there to listen

Talking to someone with depression should first involve more listening on your end. If your friend feels like talking, ask where they’re at, what you can do, and what they find helpful in treating their depression.

If you’re unsure where to start, here are some safe questions to ask:

  • How can I best support you right now?
  • When did you begin feeling like this?
  • Have you thought about getting help?
  • What makes you feel worse?
  • What makes you feel better?
  • How much stress are you dealing with?

Remember to be a sounding board first before offering advice. Give your friend a chance to open up so you can be more informed about their situation.

  1. Provide company

In addition to being a sounding board, offer to accompany your friend to their treatments, such as doctor appointments, therapy sessions, even tag along when they’re picking up their medications. This can show your friend just how treatable their illness is and the importance of being persistent in the recovery process. Check in with your friend every once in a while and ask what assistance you can provide. You’ll not only be a huge help but give them additional company throughout their treatment.

  1. Do something fun

Organize a fun outing with your friend. Plan something that you both enjoy doing, whether that’s watching a movie, going out to eat, bowling, shopping etc. It’s a great way to show that you care and support your friend, which is what they need.

In addition, if your friend is up for it, try exercising together. It doesn’t need to be anything extravagant—take a yoga or spinning class together, go for a hike, go to the driving range or shoot some hoops. It’s a simple way to get your friend out and about as well as create some great social and bonding time.

  1. Help with the little things

Lastly, look for ways to help your friend out within their day-to-day activities. If they miss some school, work with your teachers to get class notes and homework assignments and deliver to them. Help pitch in if they have household chores, such as cleaning their room or taking the trash out. The little help you provide can go a long way for someone with depression. It can also give your friend extra time to focus on their personal recovery. Just remember not to take on too much, as you don’t want to suffer from burnout!

Keep these five tips in mind when helping out a depressed friend. Remember that depression varies from person-to-person and it’s important you work with your friend to see what’s best for them and provide the best support and encouragement as they recover.

If You Need Immediate Help

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal or is in danger, please seek immediate help.

Call 911

Suicide Prevention Lifeline


Text HOME to 741-741

Crisis Text Line

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How to Help a Depressed Friend 2018-02-11T00:26:39+00:00

Signs of Childhood Depression

Worried your child may be suffering from depression?

Depression, though not as common in younger children, is a growing issue among older kids and teenagers. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, as many as 2 to 3% of children ages 6-12 and 6-8% of teens may have serious depression, and an estimated 2.8 million adolescents (ages 12 to 17) in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in 2014.

As a parent, it’s important to know the signs of childhood depression.

Sadness lasting for at least two weeks

All children experience sadness during their young lives. However, this sadness becomes a problem when it’s persistent and lasts for more than two weeks. This sadness can be paired with feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem.

Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping

Children who are suffering from depression often have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep during the night. This often has a negative impact throughout the day, as they could suffer from fatigue, difficulty concentrating at school and emotional outbursts. On the other hand, another sign of depression is excessive sleep.

Change in eating habits

Notice if your child is eating more or less during the day. Both extremes could be signs of childhood depression. In addition, look for sudden changes in weight and talk with your child about this change. Especially if your child is fixated on their size and weight, it could also be a sign of depression.

Decreased interest in activities and friends

Another major sign of depression is related to your child’s social interactions. If s/he seems bored and withdrawn from friends more so than in the past, it could be a symptom of depression. S/he may also seem less interested or bored with activities that they enjoyed in the past. Depressed teens often show this behavior of no longer wanting to participate in activities they once enjoyed.

Problems at school

From declining grades to other issues like getting in trouble or refusing to go to school, problems at school can be a sign of childhood depression. Like the point above regarding interests, your child could also withdraw from school organizations and lose overall motivation when it comes to academics. Notice if your child is having a hard time focusing on school work or paying attention in class, as these are also signs of childhood depression.

Running away from home

Because of increased emotions of sadness, anger, and irritability, it could motivate your child to run away from home as a way to avoid any conflict or issue they may be facing. Notice if your child becomes more motivated to avoid problems that arise or if they make an increased effort to leave or be away from home.

Physical ailments

From headaches to stomachaches and other physical ailments, children with depression may suffer from pain that doesn’t have a clear cause. Relating to lack of sleep, your child may also have low energy levels throughout the day and have no energy to go through their regular daily routines. This increase in pain may also lead to the frequent release of emotions, such as crying more often.

If your child or teen is showing depression symptoms, try the Heads Up Checkup symptom checker. Heads Up Checkup can give you insight on whether you should be concerned about your child's symptoms. If not quickly and properly treated, childhood depression can negatively impact your child’s physical and emotional growth and may never go away.

Counseling can be an effective treatment to help your child learn better problem-solving skills, replace negative thoughts and behaviors with positive ones, learn how to set realistic goals, explore relationships and experiences, and most importantly, regain a sense of satisfaction and control in life. You can learn more about common treatment methods and what to expect here.

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Signs of Childhood Depression 2018-02-11T00:48:27+00:00