Help A Loved One; Look Out For These Signs of Suicidal Behavior

Posted April 12, 2019

Suicide is a traumatic experience for an entire community. As there is a diverse range of signs, symptoms, and causes, understanding the many signs can help you reach out to a loved one. If you are concerned that someone you know may be having suicidal thoughts, learn to spot common warning signs and how adult DBT can help them deal with their thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Changes in Mood

While no single sign can completely predict attempted suicide, many individuals who are considering show mood changes:

  • Anxiety
  • Shame/humiliation
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anger/agitation
  • Sudden calmness

While a sense of calmness may initially come as a relief, many individuals experience an appearance of calmness as their mood changes from depression to suicidal thoughts. Not everyone processes emotions the same. Debilitating sadness could lead some to suicidal thinking, while extreme shame could be the cause for others. Few individuals will express all of these mood changes, so look for individual ones that are unusually intense or long-lasting.

Unusual Behaviors

While behavioral changes can vary dramatically, one or more of these changes can be signs that a person is experiencing suicidal thoughts:

  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawal or isolation
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Unusual sleep habits
  • Increased aggression or fatigue

Do not wait to ask a loved one about these actions. Whether these actions change as a result of a sudden life event or not, they can be signs that a person is considering suicide as an option for dealing with their pain. Alcohol and self-medication can be signs that a person is dealing with intense emotions, even if they may not be expressing any unusual emotions.

Suicidal or Depressed Talk

Communication is perhaps the most straightforward way a person considering suicide may give hints or show warning signs. Remember that while not everyone presents all warning signs, many of these signs are connected with particular moods or actions. Any or all of these communication changes should not be ignored:

  • Discussing ways to kill oneself
  • Talk of hopelessness or purposelessness
  • Communicating unbearable pain
  • Lack of communication
  • Sudden and extreme mood swings
  • Direct talk of suicide

Discussing suicide should not be seen as a cry for attention. Instead, it is often a sign that the individual needs immediate help. Many individuals who attempt suicide have communicated with at least one loved one before the attempt. Treat any discussion about suicide seriously, and contact a local health care professional if you suspect any suicidal thinking.

How DBT Can Help

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these signs or symptoms of suicidal thinking, DBT can help. From mindfulness training to emotional regulation, you will gain access to the skills necessary to combat debilitative suicidal thinking. Whether the depressive thoughts are suicidal or not, DBT can assist in emotional regulation for any individual who is struggling with extreme emotional turmoil.

Contact MHS Today

Find out more about DBT, suicide warning signs, and assistance with suicidal or depressive thoughts by scheduling an appointment today. At MHS, we serve Minnesotans and provide DBT at both our Edina and Woodbury locations. Find the help and hope you need to assist a loved one who is struggling with suicidal thoughts.

Why is My Child Acting Out?

Posted April 10, 2019

Challenging behavior is a frequently experienced part of raising a child, and it’s not unusual for a child to act out as a response to everyday stressors, changes in their routine, and other typical factors. However, if you’re concerned that your child is struggling to overcome significant behavioral issues and/or emotional difficulties, it may be time to seek out professional help and resources.

What is Causing this Behavior?

It’s not unusual for parents to be confused by a child’s challenging behavior, especially when it’s difficult to pinpoint the reasons behind it. It can be difficult not to feel like you are at fault, or to experience feelings of guilt for wondering if you simply have a “bad” child. However, a child’s negative behavior can often be attributed to one key factor: on some level, their basic needs are not being met. For some children, that may be something as simple as an inconsistent sleep schedule, the stress of dealing with a new school, or complex feelings about the birth of a new sibling.

But for other children, there is a major obstacle that prevents their basic needs from being met: severe emotional difficulties that require professional therapy.

DBT Therapy: A Way to Help Your Child Overcome Emotional Difficulties

Making the decision to seek professional help for your child is the first step, and it’s important to consider the full range of options available. One of the effective treatment options for juveniles is called DBT therapy, a type of therapy that provides successful aid for patients with varying needs.

What is DBT Therapy?

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that combines the acceptance of a patient’s emotions and behaviors with a focus on working toward change. Essentially, children learn to tolerate and function through emotional distress while learning concrete skills to respond in more productive ways. Parents are often involved in the process as well, enabling them to support the development of their child’s emotional regulation, self-esteem, and positive behavior.

What Can DBT Be Used to Treat?

The early forms of DBT were created solely for the treatment of borderline personality disorder. Today, DBT has been successfully used to help patients dealing with a range of concerns including eating disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance addiction, and suicidal thoughts.

Early adolescent DBT provides professional assistance to children, helping them deal with the challenges arising from one or more of the following difficulties:

  • Behavioral challenges at home, school, or other environments
  • Isolation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Self-harming
  • Aggression



Who Benefits from DBT Therapy?

Although DBT was initially created as a treatment option for borderline personality disorder (BPD), mental health professionals have adopted the therapy for effective use with a wide range of patients. Early adolescent DBT therapy is specifically designed for targeted use with children and young teens.

Partner with a Professional in Your Child’s Wellbeing

Helping a child with emotional difficulties is challenging for any parent or caregiver, but you don’t have to do it alone. MHS is a professional provider of comprehensive treatment programs, specializing in DBT therapy and behavioral health, including programs specifically created for young patients.

Our Early Adolescent DBT Program is expertly designed to help children and young teens build the skills they need to successfully manage emotional difficulties and implement positive behavioral changes. A combination of ongoing therapy, consistent skill-building, and regular assessment allows the MHS team to take a personalized approach to your child the help they need.

Learn more about DBT therapy and how it may help your child by contacting MHS today.