How Do I Know if My Child is Suicidal?

Pyramid Online Counseling      Mental Health  
beautiful happy boy with painted hands, artistic, educational, fun concepts

Meta Title: Helping Parents Recognize Suicide Signs in Children|Pyramid Online Counseling

Meta Description: Changes in sleep patterns, eating habits, socialization and appearance can serve as possible signs of suicidal tendencies in children.

No parents ever want to find themselves seeking signs of suicide in children. Childhood suicide is one of the most heartwrenching plagues that society faces, and the impact on loved ones is devastating. Fortunately, parents who take the time to familiarize themselves with signs of suicide in children can limit mental health issues, and potentially save lives.

Addressing suicide is no easy task. Thankfully, there are resources and data that can help parents and caregivers recognize signs of suicide in children. If you are concerned that your child might be suicidal, but aren’t sure what the warning signs are, read on to learn how to spot behaviors that might signal a need for intervention.

Note: When talking about the topic of suicide, the language can feel blunt. However, all research points to the effectiveness of interventions that use direct language, even if it feels uncomfortable at first.

Recognizing signs of suicide in children

No two children are the same. Suicidal tendencies in children will look different based on temperament, personality and the child’s situation. A child who is extremely talkative and outgoing will demonstrate warning signs differently than a child who is more naturally soft-spoken.

As a parent or caregiver, you are the expert on your child. Your relationship and proximity to your child are some of the best assets you have when making decisions on behalf of their mental health. Even if your child shows none of the warning signs listed below, do not hesitate to reach out for professional help if you feel a need for further assistance.

Common warning signs of suicide in children include:

  • Changes in sleep
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Changes in friend groups
  • Changes in appearance
    • No longer caring about personal hygiene
  • Sudden and strong mood changes
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness
    • No longer engaged in hobbies or interests
  • Expressing feelings of worthlessness
  • Preoccupation with death
  • Plans to attempt suicide
  • Making person arrangements
    • Writing goodbye letters, bringing the contents of a school locker home or giving away things
  • Acquiring a means to attempt suicide
    • Hoarding pills or obtaining a weapon
  • Recent life changes
    • Loss of a loved one, legal trouble or trouble at school
  • Suicidal statements
    • Statements to listen for
  • “It’s all too much”
  • “I wish I could fall asleep and never wake up”
  • “Life isn’t worth living”
  • “I don’t have anything to look forward to”

What to do if you see suicidal signs in children

The first thing to do is to voice your love for your child. Then, state your concerns. Identify specific behaviors that you’ve noticed that have made you worried. Next, ask directly about suicide. This might be hard to say out loud, but it’s important that you ask “Have you thought about suicide?” and “Have you made plans to attempt suicide?”

This conversation could be one of the hardest of your life, but it could also be the most important. Don’t leave the conversation without making an action step. The action step could be setting up a therapy appointment, or calling a school social worker or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Resources for parents

As a parent, there are some resources you’ll want to have handy. Bookmark the resources you think will be helpful and save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number as a contact in your phone. Also, consider talking to your child’s pediatrician and school. They will connect you to the best services in your area.

911: Call local law enforcement first for emergency situations. Things that constitute emergencies include, but are not limited to:

  • An individual who has already consumed pills or a potentially lethal substance
  • An individual who currently possesses a weapon
  • An individual who has access to a means to harm himself or someone else
  • An individual whose behavior is erratic and uncontrollable
  • An individual who has expressed suicidal ideation and cannot be located

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: For non-emergency situations, this lifeline is the best place to call. The lifeline provides professional support for those in distress and can connect you with local resources. Call the number or visit the website to find specific resources for diverse and at-risk groups.

The Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide: This website has tools designed to help parents talk with their children about suicide, identify warning signs of suicide in young children and connect you with local services. 

The National Association of School Psychologists: This article, titled “Preventing Youth Suicide: Tips for Parents and Educators” outlines suicide warning signs in children, action steps you can take and protective factors that decrease the likelihood of a suicide attempt.

The Sucide Prevention Resource Center: This resource is not specifically catered to youth, but offers tools and training to recognize and cope with suicidal ideation for individuals and families.

Looking for signs of suicide in children is something no parent should ever have to do, and you don’t have to do it alone. Pyramid Online Counseling works with adults and adolescents (ages 14 and up) to support mental wellness and decrease suicidality. Support your child or seek therapy yourself as you cope with this major life event by calling (833) 525-3077, or reaching out online today.

Online Counseling Helps You Tackle Life Transitions

Pyramid Online Counseling      Education Center  
Smiling young indian woman in headphones learning practicing foreign language with confident male tutor distantly on computer. Happy mixed race girl listening to educational webinar, writing notes.

No matter how much we might want it to slow down, life continues to move forward, ever-changing, ever-evolving. At times, it might feel like all you can do is keep your head above water, while life forces you to adjust again and again and again. And while many of us would wish these transitions would simply take care of themselves and leave us be, life demands our attention.

The good news is this isn’t an isolating concept. Every single human being on earth has experienced change to some extent. Perhaps it’s been a big change, like a cross-country move, a baby on the way or a marriage separation. Maybe it’s just been a smaller adjustment, like moving houses across town or buying a new car. Regardless of the type of life transition you’re experiencing, change is simply a part of life. 

Some changes can be exceedingly difficult to tackle alone and can affect you in mental and physical ways you weren’t anticipating. For any kind of life transition – big, small, positive or negative – online counseling offers the tools and support needed to embrace whatever happens.  

Step 1: Anticipate the change

An online counselor works with clients to tackle all aspects of a change. This includes the initial anticipation. Take a wedding, for example. Weddings are just the first step into the large life change of marriage, and this change can come arm in arm with all kinds of emotions. Talking with a counselor will help you anticipate and talk through the realities of this change (a new home, a joint bank account, a different way to file taxes, the possibility of children, a permanent new roommate). By processing thoughts and feelings ahead of time, you will experience anticipatory benefits. 

First, you won’t be caught off guard by a pending life transition. It’s much easier to handle a situation when you’re mentally prepared to receive it, rather than when it shows up out of nowhere. When you know what to expect, you already have a game plan in mind on how you’re going to handle it. 

Second, not all aspects of a transition can be identified ahead of time, and some life changes are entirely unforeseen. There will always be obstacles which arise from time to time. However, this is the benefit of talking to a counselor – the tools and healthy coping mechanisms they introduce you to, both before and after a change, will help you handle transitions now and for years to come. 

Step 2: Receive support 

From time to time, we mistakenly believe we can totally handle life transitions on our own. No matter the change, consulting with a licensed counselor proves a major upgrade over processing emotions by yourself. It might be just to vent about the difficulties of post-grad life, the concerns of moving away to college or the difficulties you’re experiencing in starting a new job. Or, it might be to process a graver situation, such as grief or trauma from an event, or a significant loss.

No matter the transition, it’s important to receive support during these times. Knowing you don’t have to handle life transitions alone, regardless of whether or not you’re capable of doing so, is important to healthily navigating a change. 

For some situations, family might provide all the support you need. For other changes, it might be valuable to discuss the situation with a third party, a counselor trained in supporting people through life’s ups and downs. For example, if you’re in the process of navigating a divorce, most people in your life will hold their own opinions of the situation. Talking with a counselor gives you support in the areas you need most. You will learn to see all perspectives of a situation, gain confidence in making choices based on these perspectives and ultimately receive guidance in making the best choices for your well-being and peace of mind. 

Step 3: Navigate the change, during and after

As important as anticipating a life change is, it is just as vital to properly navigate the change while it occurs.

Online counselors help clients navigate changes in a number of ways. 

  1. Counselors will talk with you about the change, but will also help you focus on the opportunities arising from the change. Concentrating on the positive aspects will shift your overall outlook. While the negative, or hard, aspects of your life transition will obviously be processed, the primary focus of sessions will not be dwelling on these difficulties. 
  2. Counselors will help you manage your expectations of the change. If you expect yourself to be right as rain the day after receiving life-changing news, you’re probably setting yourself up for a hard time. Counselors help you set realistic expectations in order to keep you from becoming exceedingly anxious, stressed or overwhelmed.
  3. Counselors can walk you through the steps of moving forward. Dwelling on a change doesn’t help, and while it’s necessary to acknowledge the way the change impacted you and made you feel, it’s also necessary to take that information and keep moving forward. An online counselor will guide you through embracing the impact of change versus avoiding it, and will provide you with the tools needed in this new stage of life. 

Considering online counseling?

The convenience of online counseling services, such as those offered by Pyramid Online Counseling, provide secure, convenient sessions from the comfort of your own home. By meeting with a trained counselor via video chat, you’ll be able to discuss the nature of your life transition and receive personalized, professional counseling for anticipating whatever challenges you face. Call 533-525-3077 or reach out today to learn more about how online counseling can help you navigate life transitions.

Navigating Divorce with the Aid of Online Counseling

Pyramid Online Counseling      Treatment & Therapy  
Young handsome caucasian couple covered with blanket sitting on sofa in living room and chatting. Woman holding laptop in lap.

Numerous situations in life are made better when there’s a listening ear to help you process your own thoughts and feelings. Divorce is no exception. When everything at home is thrown into unrest because of a pending or finalized divorce, it can be difficult to find ease and peace of mind. The truth is, divorce involves two people who are struggling with many emotions, and potentially conflicting and confusing feelings. When it comes to appropriately managing this confusion, turning to someone with experience and expertise in the form of online divorce counseling can introduce clarity, peace and resolution into a potentially devastating time. 

Divorce counseling accomplished online

Divorce counseling can be utilized in two different scenarios. In the first, the couple has already filed for divorce and is seeking closure, but need help in figuring out the details of finances, child custody and living arrangements. Involving a counselor in these discussions can help prevent exhausting court battles and allow both parties to come to a peaceful resolution. The second scenario involves couples considering divorce, but who haven’t officially filed yet. In this situation, a counselor offers a place where the couple can work through their disagreements and explore the possibility of saving their marriage through healthy conflict-resolution. 

Regardless of what stage a couple finds themselves in, the involvement of a counselor can give the couple someone with whom to work through the emotional and mental struggles of divorce. A counselor can provide alternative solutions to fighting and offer new perspectives or insights the couple might not have previously considered. 

Divorce counseling covers many difficulties which can arise in a marriage, such as communication problems, intimacy struggles, differences in parenting, mental illness, lack of commitment or infidelity. These, and other issues, are hard to handle and sometimes even harder to talk about. The benefit of counseling is another listening ear with a new perspective. Divorce counselors will not only provide a safe space where the couple can voice their feelings, but will help the couple learn more about themselves and each other and determine the path they want to walk in the future.

Additionally, if children are involved in the divorce process, they’re experiencing its effects just as much as the couple. Children tend to feel confusion, frustration, abandonment and even guilt when their parents divorce, which are complicated emotions for a child to effectively process on their own. Family divorce counseling offers help to not just the parents, but to their children, so everyone is given the tools they need to work through the situation. The children are provided with the support and the mental tools they need to understand and healthily cope with the divorce.

Online vs in-person divorce counseling

So what’s the difference between in-person and online counseling? Fundamentally, online divorce counseling, or teletherapy, is the same in form and function as in-person counseling. The same methods are used by the counselor, and the family or couple receives the same level of care and help. The difference simply lies in the medium through which counseling occurs. Couples can simply sit in front of their computer screen and talk with a professional counselor the same way they would if they were in a therapy room. Additionally, online counseling offers the convenience of not having to leave the home. This provides services to couples who either have a long commute to the counseling center or who find it more convenient for their schedule to remain at home. 

In-person counseling can be an intimidating experience for some, but this is completely done away with through online counseling. By creating a comfortable space in one’s own home, it’s easy for couples to feel more comfortable talking with a counselor via teletherapy.  

The care you need 

At Pyramid Online Counseling, our staff of licensed counselors extend the right combination of compassion and professional therapy. Experiences like divorce are certainly not fun; they are not enjoyable and can cause grief and trauma in the long run. Therefore, when facing divorce, it’s important to know when it’s time to reach out for help and to be fully confident in the quality of help being given. Schedule an appointment today when you visit us online, or call 833-525-3077 for more information on integrating online counseling into your current schedule.

Why Should I Participate in Online Counseling?

Pyramid Online Counseling      Treatment & Therapy  
Young couple sitting in their living room with laptop waving to their marital therapist after successful online therapy and saved marriage

With the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, the face of therapy has changed rapidly. The availability of in-person services has taken a dip, as most practitioners have transitioned to virtual therapy. According to a survey conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, over three quarters of clinicians are servicing clients exclusively via a remote platform. 

This change, though abrupt, discourages the spread of Coronavirus without neglecting mental health treatment. While the shift seems convenient for individuals and clinicians, how does it impact family counseling services?

When we hear “teletherapy,” most people will build a mental picture of a therapist on the screen and one client on the other end. This transition may be effortless for a single person, but it’s going to look different when multiple people are on the receiving end of treatment. If you are having doubts about the effectiveness of online family counseling services, read on to learn about the issues that can be addressed through remote services, as well as the efficacy and benefits to online family counseling.

Family-Related Issues that Counseling Can Help With

Like most American families, you may feel stress building from being cooped up with your family in a house that seems to feel smaller by the day. Other factors may be compounding that stress, whether it be long stretches of strict quarantine or loss of loved ones to the virus.

All families have their difficulties, but the past year may have felt like the final straw in maintaining family bonds. There is no shame in seeking professional help to restore a sense of peace in your household, and your loved ones are likely to thank you for your initiative. After all, this situation is likely stress-inducing for them as well.

Along with coronavirus-related stress, anxiety and the onset of isolation depression, online family counseling can help with many other issues. Some other concerns that could be addressed in family therapy include grief, mood disorders, financial stress, substance use and eating disorders, relationship issues, divorce and other life transitions. If one or several of these areas are impacting your family, now’s the time to get involved with online counseling.

Benefits to Family Online Counseling

If you’ve never heard of Family Systems Theory, here’s something to consider. According to The Center for Family Systems Theory, psychiatrist Murray Bowen posited that each individual is greatly impacted on an emotional level by his or her family unit. Within a family unit, patterns and bonds form so that each person’s behavior directly impacts the behavior, and therefore wellness, of another. 

Online family counseling offers all the same benefits of family counseling in an office setting, along with some exclusive perks. The counseling your family will receive is of the same caliber as in-person services, meaning that your mental health professional has the same education and credentials as you could expect from an in-person counselor.

The content of your sessions will remain equivalent to face-to-face services, as will the treatment plan. When you begin online counseling with your family, your counselor will devise a treatment plan with both individual and familial goals that will reflect the same method and end goal of treatment as you would find in the office setting. Despite the screen between you and your healthcare provider, your family’s counselor will practice in much the same way as he or she would if they were sitting in your living room.

While you’re participating in online counseling, you can expect some extra benefits. First, there’s no commute! No more dragging the kids to the car with a shout of “I need to go to the bathroom!” as you’re finally pulling out of the driveway. Remote family counseling saves you the hassle of the drive. Feel free to use the time you would have spent driving to instead relax as a family.

You’re also going to enjoy the convenience and availability of the virtual platform. Chances are with so many people converting to online school or work that someone in your family is tech-savvy. Even if you’re no computer genius, logging into your provider’s video-chat should be a breeze. The requirements for set-up are minimal as well, as most devices (phones, laptops) have the capacity to use teletherapy platforms.

The large-scale transitions required to adapt to a worldwide pandemic and the resulting stress and anxiety have thrown most American families for a loop. If the stress of the last year has impacted your family in any way, now is the best time to get started with online family counseling.

To get your family set up with the support you deserve, visit Pyramid Online Counseling, or call (833) 525-3077 to get started today.