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Children who become adolescents have to undergo numerous psychological and physiological changes and learn how to fulfill new social roles successfully. With that in mind, the period of adolescence is the stage of life that involves multiple risks related to different dimensions of well-being. This paper delves into the problem of suicidal thoughts in teenagers and discusses related stressors, approaches to health assessment, and effective support options.
The Issue and Related External Stressors
The emergence of suicidal thoughts belongs to the number of issues that impact today’s teenagers all over the world. This problem involves considering suicide as the potential way of solving some problems that impact the affected person at the moment (Whitmore & Smith, 2018). As is clear from the issue’s nature, suicidal thoughts are very unlikely to appear in the absence of mental or physical suffering. The development of suicidal ideas affects teenagers’ behavior severely, making them likely to engage in acts of self-harming or even design detailed plans to kill themselves (Holt et al., 2015). The issue’s severity may vary depending on the presence of support, teenagers’ personal situation, and their psychological characteristics.
The problem in question is associated with a large number of external stressors that contribute to the emergence of suicidal ideations. For instance, thoughts about taking one’s life can be related to a variety of mental health problems, including depression, bipolar disorder, and exposure to stress (Owen, Gooding, Dempsey, & Jones, 2015). In people from the discussed age group, such ideas often appear due to their inability to cope with traumatic events, such as rape, physical violence from peers/parents, bullying at school, the death of relatives or friends, and so on (Holt et al., 2015). Moreover, suicidal ideation can be a result of teenagers’ dissatisfaction with their social and personal life manifested in one-sided love or poor relationships with peers.
To screen for suicidal thoughts in the given age group, it is necessary to focus on the manifestations of this problem and related external stressors when asking questions. Appropriate strategies to assess young patients’ risks include the use of clinically validated tools, such as the Beck Hopelessness Scale and rating scales for depression (Granö, Oksanen, Kallionpää, & Roine, 2017). Additional strategies can be chosen based on the potential external stressors; for instance, physical assessments can reveal the signs of physical violence or self-harm (Falkner, n.d.). To exclude the presence of difficult relationships with romantic partners or peers, teenagers’ friends can be encouraged to discuss recent behavioral changes. As for additional questions to ask, it may be beneficial to learn whether adolescents experience mood changes or have hard times for some reason. As for privacy, adolescents who need help should have the right to conceal some information, for example, problems in sexual life, from parents or caregivers. Information that is less intimate and has a direct bearing on teenagers’ mental condition should be available to adults responsible for them.
Support options for adolescents facing the listed external stressors should be chosen based on the situation. In some cases, if physical or sexual violence takes place, the concerted efforts of the police and psychologists may be required. As for the problem in question, suicidal thoughts, the potential support options may also vary depending on the severity of a patient’s condition. The options to consider include school-based education, support groups for adolescents, individual sessions with mental health professionals, or even psychiatric hospitalization (Falkner, n.d.). Thus, the best support options and interventions should be chosen for different cases individually.
To sum up, suicidal ideations present an important contemporary problem in teenagers. The issue is related to several external stressors, including exposure to violence, personal problems, and different traumatic events. Health evaluations may include a range of components, such as physical examinations, the use of approved mental health assessment tools, and psychological interviews. Based on the results and the problem’s severity, appropriate support options are to be selected.
Falkner, A. (n.d.). Adolescent assessment. Web.
Granö, N., Oksanen, J., Kallionpää, S., & Roine, M. (2017). Specificity and sensitivity of the Beck Hopelessness Scale for suicidal ideation among adolescents entering early intervention service. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 71(1), 72-76.
Holt, M. K., Vivolo-Kantor, A. M., Polanin, J. R., Holland, K. M., DeGue, S., Matjasko, J. L.,… Reid, G. (2015). Bullying and suicidal ideation and behaviors: A meta-analysis. Pediatrics, 135(2), e496-e509.
Owen, R., Gooding, P., Dempsey, R., & Jones, S. (2015). A qualitative investigation into the relationships between social factors and suicidal thoughts and acts experienced by people with a bipolar disorder diagnosis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 176, 133-140.
Whitmore, L. M., & Smith, T. C. (2018). Isolating the association of sleep, depressive state, and other independent indicators for suicide ideation in United States teenagers. Archives of Suicide Research, 1-27. Web.