Teen Suicide Prevention:
No Lone Rangers!
The first day of Crisis Intervention, a course in our masters counseling program, the instructor walked into the classroom, and affixed a large poster of the Lone Ranger on the wall.
He then told us, "Here is the most important thing to know as a professional when dealing with a crisis: there are no Lone Rangers!”
Every professional knows that when faced with a suicide threat, no matter how mild or severe, other people must be involved to protect and support the person who is at risk.
Hotline access may be found through 911, or you can access the following websites for 24-7 telephone help:
There are generally three areas of support that are necessary in a serious threat:
- Involving others immediately to protect the life of the one who has threatened suicide. That can mean an immediate referral to a mental health facility for an in depth evaluation.
People who work with the suicidal every day know best how to tell the seriousness. In extreme cases in treatment is sometimes appropriate.
At an in treatment facility, teens would likely do intense psychotherapy, group therapy, live in a highly structured environment, and be evaluated for the need of medication.
- Outpatient therapy
Once out of an in treatment facility, a suicidal teen can benefit from therapy to help them gain a more positive perspective on their problems and develop a plan to go forward. A therapeutic relationship with a caring adult can be helpful.
- Support from family and friends
We often work with families to help them develop a support plan for their teen and for each other.
Support for Survivors
In the drama that usually envelops a suicide threat or attempt, family members often don’t realize how the stress affect them. (Remember the mobile.)
We usually offer family therapy to help heal from the stress. Support groups are often helpful as well.
Teens who threaten suicide are often calling attention to their unmet needs for support and care. Teens may look more like adults than children, but emotionally they tend to be more like children than adults, and need more emotional support than most adults realize.
We help parents and siblings learn how to help meet the emotional needs of teens, so they can feel more connected, cared for and loved. We usually accomplish these objectives through family therapy.