START YOUNG TO PREVENT SUICIDE
SUICIDAL TEENS, WHEN TO WORRY AND WHAT TO DO
We all get sad, but fortunately most of us figure out how to go on. Teens sometimes don’t. This article is useful for all who care about a teen.
Those of us who do not get down to what the clinicians call depression, have a difficult time understanding those that do. This makes depressed teens particularly vulnerable. One depressed teen told me “You mean most people don’t think of killing themselves every day.” The fact is most people rarely if ever think of killing themselves. When I directed a program working with seriously emotionally distressed youth, my staff used a feeling thermometer to help rate a child’s level of depression. The one on this blog is a general feeling thermometer. The article I started on Wikihow How to take a feeling temperature details creating and using a personal feeling thermometer. Creating personal feeling thermometers as a family activity can be fun and illumnating.
Teaching children to take their feeling temperature teaches a number of emotional fitness skills. The very act of stopping to think about what you are feeling slows down the impulse to think before acting. Taking a regular feeling thermometer encourages accurately naming feelings; spots when a feeling is about to take control, gives a sense of perspective–a broken finger nail is not a broken bone, and finall t teaches that feelings come and go. If negative feelings don’t come and go, if a child is always feeling angry or sad, then a mental health evaluation is needed; early help prevents later tragedies.
Many families and youth are unwilling to seek such help because of the stigma attached to admitting emotional problems. That is why fighting stigma is important when it comes to improving our nation’s emotional fitness.