Suicide Prevention: Warning Signs

Suicide Prevention: Warning Signs

By: Shameen Joshi

Suicide is a major health crisis with it being the 12th leading cause of death overall in the United States. In 2021, it claimed the lives of over 45,900 people. Suicide is the act of harming oneself with the goal of ending one’s life. A suicide attempt is when the individual has a goal to end his/her life but fails to do so. Some warning signs to look out for when spotting someone who is suicidal is:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Feeling like they have no desire to live
  • Having unbearable emotional or physical pain
  • Talking about feeling like a burden to others
  • Talking or thinking about death often
  • Preparing a will
  • Giving away personal important possessions
  • Using alcohol or drugs more often
  • Withdrawing from friends and family members

These warning signs must not be ignored since they are signs of extreme distress that can lead to dangerous outcomes if ignored. The action steps to take include:

  • Asking the individual if they think about harming themselves
  • Keeping them safe by reducing access to lethal items/places
  • Being there and actively listening to their thoughts and feelings
  • Helping them connect to a Suicide & Crisis Hotline number. Call 201-262-HELP (4357)
  • Staying connected with the individual and following up after a crisis.

You are loved and you are making a difference by taking the necessary steps to bring awareness.

If you or someone you know is experiencing Suicidal thoughts, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): a Cognitive Behavioral Approach

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): a Cognitive Behavioral Approach

By: Jasmyn Cuate

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a combination of cognitive and behavior therapy, supported by empirical-based evidence that teaches patients skills to cope with and change unhealthy behaviors. The main goals of DBT are to teach people how to live in the moment, develop healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and improve their relationships with others.

DBT focuses on four key areas in therapeutic skills:

  • Mindfulness: focuses on improving your ability to accept and be present in the current moment, helping you use healthy coping skills instead of using negative impulsive behaviors
  • Distress tolerance: teaches you how to feel intense emotions without reacting impulsively or using self-injury or substance abuse to escape from it. Helping you prepare for intense emotions and cope with a more positive long-term outlook
  • Emotion regulation: teaches you how to identify, label, and change your emotions without judging them– learning how your emotions shape your behavior and what obstacles prevent you from managing your emotions, reducing your emotional vulnerability and helps you have more positive emotional experiences
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: allows you to communicate more effectively with others, become more assertive, maintain self-respect and respect for others, while keeping a relationship positive and healthy

DBT goes through a multistage approach where the therapist first treats the patient’s most self-destructive behavior followed by the therapist addressing quality-of-life skills, then focus on improving the patient’s relationships and self-esteem, with the last stage focusing on promoting more joy and relationship connections. Standard comprehensive DBT is often used in the following settings:

  • Individual therapy: with a trained professional, you learn how to apply DBT skills to specific challenges and situations in your life­– patients agree to do homework to practice new skills and fill out diary cards which are completed daily to keep track of their emotions, urges, behaviors, and skills used throughout the week and brought to weekly sessions for the therapist and client to discuss and see if there’s progress being made. Diary cards are designed to record instances of target behaviors, thoughts and urges, and the use of behavioral skills client’s applied to cope with the problem
  • Group skills training: patients have the opportunity to role-play new behavioral skills and interact with others
  • Phone coaching: with DBT, your therapist is available by the phone for in-the-moment support between sessions if you’re in a difficult situation and need guidance

While your therapist works with you through the DBT approach, it can be challenging to stay motivated. Therefore, therapists have consultation groups,which are a group of professionals who met regularly helping one another to navigate potential stressors, monitor their devotion to treatment, develop and increase their skills, and sustain their motivation to work with high-risk, difficult-to-treat clients.

DBT was developed by Marsha Linehan, originally intended to treat borderline personality disorder (BPD) and suicidal behaviors but has been modified to treat other mental health conditions and have been effective in treating:

  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Substance use or impulsive behaviors
  • Eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) or suicidal behavior
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Overall, DBT offers validation for patients, helping them understand their actions within the context of their personal experiences without necessarily agreeing that their actions are the best approach to solving a problem. This helps patients become more likely to cooperate and work towards self-acceptance and change. The best way to find out if DBT is right for you is to talk with a professional. They will evaluate your symptoms, treatment history, and therapy goals to see if DBT is the best treatment option for you.

If you or someone you know is seeking for dialectical behavior therapy, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/dialectical-behavioral-therapy https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapy-types/dialectical-behavior-therapy

https://www.verywellmind.com/dialectical-behavior-therapy-1067402

https://psychcentral.com/lib/an-overview-of-dialectical-behavior-therapy

March: National Self-Injury Awareness Month

March: National Self-Injury Awareness Month

By: Julia Massa

March is self-injury awareness month. Raising awareness educates those who do not self-harm and reaches out to those who do.

Self-injury or self-harm is characterized by hurting oneself on purpose to release painful emotions, process or distract themselves from their negative feelings, feel something when feeling numb, punish themselves, or develop a sense of control in their life. Self-harm can manifest differently for everyone, including cutting, scratching, burning, carving words into the skin, punching oneself, piercing skin with sharp objects, pulling out hair, or picking at existing wounds. Due to the stigma and shame that surrounds self-injury; many people do not report it. The current self-injury prevalence from statistics in over 40 countries explains that 17% of people partake in self-harm throughout their lifetime and the average age an individual begins to self-harm is 13. 50% of people seek help from friends, but do not commonly seek professional help. Cutting is the most commonly used form, with 45% resorting to cutting to relieve their pain. Since 2009, there has been a 50% increase in reported self-injury among young females.

Warning signs of self-harm include scars, fresh cuts, burns, scratches, bruises, wearing long sleeves or pants even in hot weather, impulsiveness, rubbing an area repeatedly to create a burn, having sharp objects on hand, questioning personal identity, and feelings of worthlessness. Self-harm can cause permanent scars, uncontrollable bleeding that can result in death, infection, addiction to the behavior, shame or guilt, avoiding friends and loved ones, becoming ostracized from loved ones who do not accept or understand the behavior, and interpersonal difficulty from lying to others about their injuries.

With the devastating consequences of self-harm and rates significantly increasing, it is important to advocate for those suffering to try to prevent them from engaging in these behaviors. Additionally, resorting to therapy to treat the underlying cause, such as overwhelming feelings and mood disorders, and finding better ways to cope may be the most effective route for those suffering from self-injury to take. For some, art therapy may help people process emotions and grab a marker instead of a sharp object. Individuals suffering can also text the crisis text line at 741741 when impulses to self-harm come on suddenly.

If you or someone you know is engaging in self-harm, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

https://www.crisistextline.org/topics/self-harm/#what-is-self-harm-1

https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Common-with-Mental-Illness/Self-harm

Suicide Grief

Suicide Grief

By: Michaela Reynolds

Losing a loved one by suicide can be overwhelming and heart wrenching. Grief in response to suicide can be complicated. You may be consumed with guilt and wonder to yourself if you could have done something to prevent their death. Feelings of anger, shame, guilt, regret and blame are very common, but it can make it hard for you to talk about their death due to stigma that is associated with it. It is important to note that there is NO right way to grieve losing a loved one to suicide!

In the aftermath, you may feel like you will never enjoy life again. To be honest, you may always wonder why it happened and experience reminders that can trigger painful feelings. However, the intensity of your grief will fade as time goes on but will probably never fully pass. In the meantime, it is beneficial for you to adopt healthy coping mechanisms. Such as:

  • Keep in touch with loved ones, friends, and other supporters
  • Don’t rush yourself
  • Consider a support group for families affected by suicide
  • Grieve in your own way
  • Expect setbacks
  • Be prepared for painful reminders

It important for you to understand the following: You should accept that some things are beyond your control, separate responsibility from blame, and understand that anyone can miss the warning signs.

If you are someone or you know someone who appears to be suffering from suicide grief, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201)368-3700 or (212)722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/end-of-life/in-depth/suicide/art-20044900

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/suicide-prevention/after-a-suicide-loss/suicide-and-grief#:~:text=Grief%20in%20response%20to%20suicide,the%20stigma%20associated%20with%20suicide.

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February: Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

By: Julia Massa

Teen dating violence, also known as intimate partner violence or intimate relationship violence, affects one in three teenagers, ages 12 to 19 nationwide. This population is likely to experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse from their partner before entering adulthood. The abuse can take many forms including stalking, harassment, or physical or sexual abuse. In fact, 10% of adolescents report being a victim of physical violence prior to experiencing sexual assault or rape. Girls are more vulnerable to experience violence in their relationships and are likely to develop suicidal ideations, eating disorders, or use drugs. In addition, adolescents are likely to carry these behaviors into future relationships.

The month of February signifies the undying efforts to raise awareness for teen dating violence by promoting advocacy and education to younger individuals so that they can notice the red flags and escape potential abuse from a partner. This year’s theme for Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month is “Talk About It,” which encourages younger individuals to participate in conversations differentiating both healthy and unhealthy relationships. It is important to note that this is an issue that affects not only teenagers, but their families, friends, and the community as a whole. Many cases go unreported since victims are hesitant and scared to open up to their family or peers about it.

Safety planning guides, participating in the That’s Not Cool Ambassador Program, attending webinars, supporting youth led projects, and advocating through social media platforms are various ways an individual can spread awareness and enhance their knowledge on ways to help victims notice patterns of abuse. On February 8th, it is encouraged to wear orange to show victims that they have our support and attention. Love is Respect.

If you or someone you know is struggling with being in an abusive relationship, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://youth.gov/feature-article/teen-dating-violence-awareness-and-prevention-month

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Self-Harm: What You Need To Know

About 17% of all people will self-harm during their lifetime, however the actual rate is likely higher than this because of the shame and stigma that surrounds self-harm. Individuals self-harm as a way to deal with difficult feelings, or overwhelming situations and experiences, and can include cutting, burning, and scratching oneself. Self-harm can be difficult to understand, and can sometimes be confused with suicide attempts. Self-harm and suicide attempts are not the same thing, however, there is a strong association between the two. One common stereotype of self-harm is that it is “attention seeking”. The reality is that most self-harm is done in secrecy, and individuals often feel ashamed to ask for help.

There are several self-harm risk factors. These include struggling with mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, drug and alcohol use or addiction, and eating disorders. Self-harming can become physically addictive, as it is habit-forming, and individuals can come to rely on it as a coping mechanism for what they are going through.

Sharing your feelings with someone that you trust can help you self-harm less and feel less alone. If someone has disclosed to you that they engage in self-harm, it is important to be patient and educate yourself on why people self-harm and what you can do to help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with self-harm, please contact our psychotherapy/psychiatry offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/self-harm/about-self-harm/

https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/self-harm/self-harm-statistics/

https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/about-mental-illness/learn-more-about-symptoms/self-harm/

Image Source

https://rcni.com/nursing-children-and-young-people/careers/research-and-commentary/improving-nursing-care-of-children-and-young-people-who-self-harm-81661

COVID-19 and Suicide

By: Isabelle Siegel

The COVID-19 epidemic quickly became an international crisis, impacting each and every one of us to varying degrees. Even for those of us who do not personally know someone affected with COVID-19, the mental health toll that the virus is taking is pervasive. In fact, calls to one national mental health hotline have increased by 1000% in April alone. 

One unfortunate secondary consequence of COVID-19 and its effects on public mental health is increased suicide risk: It is predicted that the suicide rate will drastically increase in the coming months. This is likely the result of the anxiety surrounding COVID-19, coupled with resulting economic stress and social distancing.

National Anxiety

The threat of COVID-19 serves as an immense stressor, having the potential to increase the rates of onset of mental health conditions and/or to exacerbate pre-existing mental health conditions. According to the Washington Post, nearly half of Americans cited COVID-19 as being harmful to their mental health.

Economic Stress

COVID-19 has brought about an unprecedented economic crisis, with unemployment rates skyrocketing. Previous research has documented that suicide rates tend to increase by 1.6% for each percentage point increase in the unemployment rate. This means that with current unemployment rates estimated at around 15%, we may see a 24% increase in suicide rates.

Social Distancing

Increased suicide rates may also be an unintended consequence of social distancing measures. Ironically, what is keeping us physically safe and healthy may be putting our mental health at risk. Humans require connection to survive, especially in times of duress. In times of forced isolation, it is only natural that the risk of suicide will increase. Social distancing measures are also limiting access to community and religious support systems, as well as to mental health care—all of which have been demonstrated to lower suicide risk. 

How can suicide risk be addressed in the era of COVID-19?

Despite the stress associated with the COVID-19 crisis, measures can still be taken to lower suicide risk through awareness of risk factors, increased access to teletherapy, and maintaining social connections (via Zoom, FaceTime, etc.).

If you or a loved one appears to be at risk for anxiety, depression, or suicide, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Suicide Prevention: What Can You Do to Help?

Suicide Prevention: What Can You Do to Help?

By Lauren Hernandez

                If someone you care about has recently expressed suicidal thoughts or has told you they have attempted suicide, it is important to offer support to that person and to seek professional help. Suicide attempts are often triggered when a person cannot handle the certain stressors and do not have stable coping mechanisms to overcome these obstacles. People considering suicide typically struggle with other mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as a variety of other conditions. If someone has shared their suicidal thoughts with you, provide them with close comfort by staying with them. Even if you are unsure of what to say, it is important for that person to know that they are not alone.

It is important to make a plan, that encourages at risk individuals to see a provider such as a psychologist or psychiatric nurse practitioner who can offer professional help. If they are overwhelmed by their workload, perhaps try to ease their worries by offering to help them complete specific burdening tasks. It is important to offer them a way in which they can surround themselves with supportive people, perhaps invite them to a relaxing and judgement free space with a few friends. Additionally, help them to find ways in which they can practice self-care, healthy eating, exercise, and sleep, as well as listening to music and other activities that help to boost mood.

It is important to recognize that although you are trying to help a loved one to the best of your ability, the person struggling with suicidal thoughts needs professional care and therapy. There is only so much you can do to help and that is why reaching out to safety networks is essential. Other resources you should find in your area include mental health providers such as a psychologist or psychiatric nurse practitioner who can work with the patient to create a plan and prescribe medication. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 9-1-1 to request immediate assistance and hospitalization to prevent self-harm or a possible suicide from happening. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24/7 confidential Lifeline which is available at any time for anyone in the United States to get support if you or a loved one is in crisis. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s number is 1-800-273-8255. To find more information on how to help yourself or someone in crisis can be found on these websites:

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-yourself/

https://afsp.org/find-support/my-loved-one-made-attempt/loved-one-made-attempt/.

If you or a loved one is suffering from suicidal thoughts please contact Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

 

 

 

 

Sources:

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-yourself/

https://afsp.org/find-support/my-loved-one-made-attempt/loved-one-made-attempt/.

Image Source:

https://www.google.com/search?q=suicide+help&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjjk_Kx9PXiAhWIMd8KHewwDtcQ_AUIECgB&biw=643&bih=603&dpr=1.5#imgrc=EHtMpuR0bLfVHM:

 

 

 

Suicide: Fighting Suicidal Thoughts

By: Sally Santos

If you are someone who is suffering with suicidal thoughts, you should be aware that most people that have attempted to commit suicide but did not succeed feel relieved that they did not succeed in ending their life. When things get tough sometimes your mind starts racing and you feel overwhelmed with emotions. Suicide doesn’t just happen on its own, it is led by many social risk factors some of them being:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Employment status
  • Lack of social support

Many people who have attempted to commit suicide will say that they were experiencing very intense feelings of hopelessness. They felt like they had lost control of their lives and that nothing is going to get better. But that is not true. In that moment it may feel hopeless but there are ways to help you feel better. You do not have to feel like you have to fight your battles alone. In order to steer away from those thoughts it is important to keep in mind a plan just in case your thoughts become too overwhelming. It is recommended to make a list of all the positive things that you have in your life such as:

  • Read a favorite book or listen to your favorite music
  • Write down positive things about yourself or the favorite aspects of your life
  • Try to get a goodnights sleep
  • Have a list of people you trust to call in case you want to talk

Always note that you can discuss how you have been feeling with a healthcare provider. They can provide you with the advice and help that you need in order to achieve a faster and healthy recovery. Lastly, as mentioned in an article in Psychology Today it’s important to “remember that you have not always felt this way and that you will not always feel this way”. The emotions and thoughts that you have now are temporary not permanent.

Article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201204/fighting-suicidal-thoughts

Image: https://www.teepublic.com/sticker/1813639-suicide-prevention-awareness-butterfly-ribbon

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

 

Suicide and Mental Health Issues in College Students

By Samantha Glosser

Many students expect their college years to be the best years of their lives. They will achieve great academic successes, make life-long friends, go to the best parties, and enjoy living away from their parents. This idea is emphasized all around us in movies, TV shows, and social media posts. However, this is a glorified image of college that may not be the case for all students. In fact, according to a recent study by the American College Health Association, about 1 in every 11 college students have attempted suicide; 1 in 5 students has considered suicide and 1 in 5 students engage in self-harm.

How could these statistics be true when students are told that they are living in the best years of their lives? As it turns out, the college years are filled with numerous different stressors. These stressors include academic and career difficulties, intimate relationships, finances, personal and family health problems, issues with personal appearance, and death of family members and friends, just to name a few. 3 out of every 4 college students have experienced at least one of these stressors within the last year. These stressors are highly associated with mental health diagnoses, self-harm, and suicidality. The societal pressure that college should be the best years of your life can also be contributing to these statistics. If a student feels alone or thinks that no one else is experiencing similar feelings, it can push them closer towards self-harm and suicide.

If you or someone you know appears to be at immediate risk of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. If you are not at immediate risk, but appear to be suffering from suicidal thoughts or other mental health issues, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Source: https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/09/11/survey-1-in-5-college-students-stressed-considers-suicide/138516.html