Adolescents

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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Why Prevent Suicide? Here Are My Reasons.

Why Prevent Suicide? Here Are My Reasons.

 “If someone’s life is so awful that they want to die by suicide, why stop them?” I am frequently asked some variation of this question, 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 […]

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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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Are You Afraid that Asking about Suicidal Thoughts will Anger the Person?

Are You Afraid that Asking about Suicidal Thoughts will Anger the Person?

Many people are afraid to ask a person if he or she is considering suicide, because they fear the person will get angry. The thinking goes, if I ask about suicide, they will assume I think they are crazy or unstable. I have asked dozens and dozens – perhaps even hundreds – of people whether […]

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Does Talking about Suicide Plant the Idea in the Person’s Mind?

Does Talking about Suicide Plant the Idea in the Person’s Mind?

  People learn about suicide at a very young age. They already know about it, so our asking about it does not give them the idea. Where you worry you may be planting a seed, a large tree has already grown. In case you have doubts, consider a research study  conducted with adolescents. In this study, two […]

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Are You Thinking of Killing Yourself?

Are You Thinking of Killing Yourself?

I cannot pretend to understand your situation. You are a stranger, first of all, and everybody’s story is unique. So I’ll refrain from the clichés: “It’ll get better.” “This too shall pass.” “You are a good person and deserve to live.” Those statements may well be true, and I hope you will consider them. But […]

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Will I Be Committed to a Mental Hospital if I Tell a Therapist about my Suicidal Thoughts?

Will I Be Committed to a Mental Hospital if I Tell a Therapist about my Suicidal Thoughts?

You may be considering suicide and yet not want to tell a therapist, because you fear landing in a mental hospital. If you go to a therapist or psychiatrist and tell them you are seriously thinking of killing yourself, that does not necessarily mean you will be hospitalized – even if you want to be […]

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If You Suspect a Friend or Loved One is Thinking of Suicide

If You Suspect a Friend or Loved One is Thinking of Suicide

You are walking with your best friend and she steps into the street without looking, forcing a car to swerve around her. You say, “Oh my God, you almost got killed,” and she says, “It wouldn’t matter anyway if I were dead.” Your son is home from college for spring break and has barely left his room. […]

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