The influx of hormones during adolescence can cause major mood swings that drive parents crazy. Unfortunately, these mood swings tend to coincide with the teen’s increased need for personal space and autonomy. So, many teens withdraw to their room to spend time alone and brood.
Some teens, however, have more going on than just hormonal mood swings. Teens who struggle with depression show many the same withdrawal signs as regular moody teens, but their outward moodiness is a sign of deeper mental health issues.
If you are concerned that your teen son might be battling depression or be experiencing suicidal thoughts, you may need to change his surroundings to better support his mental health. Therapeutic boarding schools for troubled boys can help teens overcome depression and other mental health problems.
Teen suicide on the rise
Teens who battle depression are more likely to commit suicide than other teens would be. According to a 2010 report from the CDC, suicide was among the top 5 leading causes of death in adolescents between ages 12-19. From 1999-2006, the top 5 leading causes of death in teens were:
1. Unintentional injury (car accidents being the leading cause) – 48%
2. Homicide – 13%
3. Suicide – 11%
4. Cancer – 6%
5. Heart Disease – 3%
Those stats are a little out of date now, but the rate of suicide in teens and young adults hasn’t gotten any better. In fact, it’s gotten worse. A CDC report from September of 2020 stated that the rate of suicide in people aged 10-24 increased 57.4% between 2007 and 2018.
Rates of depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders in children and teens have slowly been on the rise as well. At this point, it’s still unclear why more teens and young adults have started resorting to suicide. Teen mental health is a problem, though, and it’s a problem that we need to take seriously.
So, even if you don’t think that your teenager is in danger of self-harm, it’s important that you talk to them about suicide and how to prevent it. Just like you would talk to them about the importance of wearing seatbelts and not texting while driving, make time for preventative discussions with your kids about suicide.
By having these conversations with your teen, you let them know that you care about them both physically and emotionally.
Talking to your teen about suicide prevention
The hardest part of talking to your teen about suicide is starting the conversation. For a lot of people, it’s a difficult topic to approach. Beginning the conversation might feel a little awkward, but try not to worry about that. Accept that it might be an awkward conversation. If your teen knows that you’re OK with difficult conversations, they will be more willing to come to you with future difficult conversations.
When you talk to your teen about suicide, be honest about your concerns. Let them know that you want them to feel safe coming to you if they ever feel like hurting themselves.
Give your teen space to tell you how they’re feeling and if they’ve ever considered hurting themselves.
Listen non-judgmentally. If they try opening up to you and you immediately fuss at them or demean their feelings, they’re not likely to trust you with their feelings again.
Create a plan for what they will do if they ever do want to hurt themselves. Hopefully, they will never need to use this plan. But just like it’s wise to create a plan of action in case of a house fire, it’s wise to develop a plan of action for a mental health crisis. This will give them something to fall back on if they ever experience suicidal thoughts.
Warning signs of suicidal thoughts
As your child progresses through adolescence, keep an eye out for the warning signs of suicidal thoughts.
Some of the main warning signs include:
Withdrawing from the people or activities they used to love
Suddenly not caring about their hygiene
Suddenly not following through with responsibilities (Ex: grades dropping, not doing chores, etc.)
Talking about not wanting to live
Increased alcohol or drug use
Increased dangerous behaviors
Giving away their possessions
Don’t hesitate to seek professional help
If you are worried that your teen son might be considering suicide, seek professional help immediately. Many teens who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts benefit from attending a therapeutic boarding school to be immersed in a supportive environment.
Students at Sundance Canyon Academy receive personalized treatment plans from professional therapists to help them stop suicidal thoughts and overcome depression.
Contact us today to find out how we can help your son.