Mental health topics in the news, parenting and all things kid and counseling related
Life is stressful. Teens today have so many things to contend with from academic pressure to social pressure to parental pressure to the pressure of getting into the best college. Many are running from activity to activity all evening while carrying a full schedule of AP classes all day. But is it all too much? These high achieving, "go go go" teens are prone to depression. Some even struggle with suicidal thoughts, whether it is a vague "not wanting to be here anymore" or a plan to end their lives. Many teens also struggle with emotional regulation or the ability to make sense of and cope with emotions. An alarming new trend is the number of teens struggling with self injury, though. They regulate what they are feeling by inflicting injury on themselves from cuts to abrasions to burns. And they do so for many reasons. Often, these teens are attempting either to feel something or to numb out overwhelming emotions that they are feeling. In fact, Alexian Brothers Behavioral Health Hospital in Hoffman Estates reported a 147% increase in self injury patients hospitalized in their program between 2008 and 2014. Many of the patients at ABBH are those high achieving, talented, overloaded kids described above. Unfortunately the sad fact is that often these teens are trying to cope with underlying suicidal thoughts and avoid acting on them. This is why treating them is difficult. Their self injury is a coping skill for suicidal thoughts and actions, albeit an unhealthy one. September is National Suicide Awareness Month, a time to be aware and get teens and other individuals who are at risk for suicide the help that they need. Self injury should be included in this awareness. If you have a friend or loved one whom you notice unexplained cuts, abrasions, marks or bruises on, talk to him/her and get him/her the help he/she needs to potentially save his/her life.
I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor working with people of all ages with a specialization in child and adolescent services.. Read on. You can also find me on facebook by following the link. Enjoy!