Ask the Therapist-Is My Teen Suicidal?



Teen suicides are on the rise in America, with a 24% increase between 1999 and 2014; the highest rate recorded in 28 years. Why? Perhaps they are keeping better records, but regardless, you have to ask what makes a young person with an entire life ahead of them decide that life isn’t worth living at all? Although no explanation is ever simple one of the biggest reasons is…expectations.

When your expectations on how life is supposed to go isn’t matched with reality there’s a reaction. For instance, if you work toward the goal of becoming first string on the sports team and you exert time, effort, and your self-worth toward achieving that place, and then it doesn’t happen, you feel like your life has been wasted. When you can’t achieve that goal there’s a lot of anger, on the coach, the team, and finally yourself. This perception means that your expectations are out of alignment since there are many variables that play into the reality.

 Many times I’m asked if depression leads to suicide, not necessarily, but a person who is not depressed isn’t going to kill him or herself. That’s why it’s important to address depression because left unchecked, it can lead to suicidal thoughts. Negative thinking will not get better over time, because every life event becomes interpreted through the filter of negativity, making even good events bad.  The mindset is that I’m worthless and even if you compliment me it’s not true. There’s a negative spin that cements the depression.

Unhealthy thoughts are a tool of the enemy who wants to steal, kill, and destroy anyway he can. Taking out someone who is depressed and suicidal wipes out an entire family, and puts the remaining members at risk to do the same thing. 

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