Adolescents

Talking Back to Suicidal Thoughts

Talking Back to Suicidal Thoughts

Suicidal thoughts take different forms. Some politely knock on the door. You let them in, entertain them a bit, and then they leave. But suicidal thoughts can also be most unwelcome. In such cases, you do not want to think of suicide. The thoughts still come. They invade. They refuse to leave. So What Can […]

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“Better Mad than Dead”: Keeping a Friend’s Suicidal Thoughts Secret

“Better Mad than Dead”: Keeping a Friend’s Suicidal Thoughts Secret

Teenagers who think of suicide often  tell only their friends, and they make the friends promise to keep their suicidal thoughts secret. This puts the friends of a suicidal teen in a bind. Should they break their promise and tell an adult? Telling an adult poses problems. Doing so might end the friendship. The suicidal teen […]

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What’s Your Pleasure?

What’s Your Pleasure?

If you are depressed, stressed, or grieving, the term “pleasurable activities” may seem oxymoronic – no activity possibly could bring pleasure. Maybe you cannot even remember what gives you pleasure – or what once gave you pleasure no longer does. You may also think that pleasure is simply petty. If you feel so bad that […]

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Is a Suicide Attempt a Cry for Help?

Is a Suicide Attempt a Cry for Help?

“She is not really suicidal. She just wants attention.” “He did not really attempt suicide. It was just a cry for help.” “If she had really wanted to die, she’d be dead.” These are often the reactions of friends and family to a suicidal person. Sometimes, it is true that a person who made what […]

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Shame, Stigma, and Suicidality

Shame, Stigma, and Suicidality

Many people feel ashamed of their suicidal thoughts. This shame can be about any number of things, often contradictory: thinking of suicide, being unable to stop thinking of suicide, not acting on suicidal thoughts, acting on suicidal thoughts, and so on. Shame especially can follow a suicide attempt. One small study found that most of the […]

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The People You Would Leave Behind

The People You Would Leave Behind

“I’m a burden. They’ll be better off without me.” “They’ll get over it.” “Nobody will care that I’m gone.” Do you tell yourself any of these things? Many people who think of suicide do. In fact, a leading expert in suicide research, Thomas Joiner Jr., PhD, writes that seeing yourself as a burden to others is a […]

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10 Reasons Teens Avoid Telling Parents about Suicidal Thoughts

10 Reasons Teens Avoid Telling Parents about Suicidal Thoughts

Teenagers often tell me that they do not like to talk with their parents about their suicidal thoughts. Some teens do not tell their parents at all. There are many reasons why teens lock parents out. The biggest reason that teens give me for not talking to their parents about their suicidal thoughts is a […]

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Do Antidepressants Cause Suicide?

Do Antidepressants Cause Suicide?

Antidepressants and suicide are an odd combination. On the one hand, antidepressants reduce depression, which is a major cause of suicide. But – and this is an important “but” – there is also consistent evidence that, in a very small proportion of adolescents and young adults, antidepressants can trigger suicidal thoughts and suicide itself. Before I […]

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“If Someone’s Life is So Awful that They Want to Die, Why Stop Them?”

“If Someone’s Life is So Awful that They Want to Die, Why Stop Them?”

  I have been asked some variation of this question more than once – even by mental health professionals. Once, a therapist told me about a client of hers with schizophrenia. “He is miserable, and he will always have schizophrenia. I think letting him kill himself is humane.” Indeed, there is a whole movement around […]

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The Hope Box

The Hope Box

Suicidal thoughts and hope exist on opposite ends of the spectrum, and one withers in the face of the other. A good means for challenging suicidal thoughts, then, is to cultivate hope. That is the aim of the “hope box.” The premise is simple: Get a box (or a bag, or a large envelope, or […]

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