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Voices of Georgia’s Chilren report the number of children who visited the emergency room for reasons related to suicide doubled between 2008-2018. Voices of Georgia’s Children also report 77,878 students from sixth grade to twelfth grade considered committing suicide in 2019.61,978 students reported harming themselves. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death behind unintentional injury for children ages 10-17 in Georgia. 

What leads to suicide?

There is no single cause of suicide. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused many to feel isolated and alone. Suicide may be caused by untreated mental health disorders, anxiety, traumatic events, and substance use.Suicide may also be caused by feelings of hopelessness and despair. Other risk factors include previous history of suicide attempts, environment, bullying, stressful life events, access to lethal means such as firearms or drugs, and sensationalized accounts of suicide.

Warning Signs

Suicide warning signs  include a change behavior, giving away items, sudden social engagement, sudden isolation, constant talk about committing suicide, and increased use substances such as drugs or alcohol. Other warning signs include a change in mood. This may appear as depression, irritability, agitation, loss of interest, anger, humiliation and shame. 

How can you help?

Talking with someone who is considering suicide is not easy. Asking about suicidal thoughts or feelings won’t push someone into doing something self-destructive. In fact, offering an opportunity to talk about feelings may reduce the risk of acting on suicidal feelings.You can ask direct questions such as: “are you thinking about ending your life”, or “do you have access to lethal weapons or substances.” It is important to use supportive language such as “how can I help you” instead of making the person feel ashamed for having those feelings. You can provide the Suicide Hotline number 1-800-273-8255 or dial 911 in an emergency situation. Please don’t try to handle the situation alone, reach out to a professional individual that can provide adequate help and ensure the safety of the individual.

Source: Georgia Voices of Children

Adjustment Disorder

Adjustment disorders are characterized by mild to moderate emotional and behavioral needs. These needs can often be felt as depression and/ or anxiety, feeling hopeless, crying, worrying, and irritability.  Individuals experiencing adjustment challenges in their lives can also see increased physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach aches. These symptoms are commonly seen within the first 3 months of a stressor. While there is no set cause for adjustment disorder, it can be due to one or several stressful events, such as losing a job, moving, marriage, divorce, having a baby, onset of serious or chronic illness, or even the changes, isolation and fears concerning the COVID19 virus. This disorder usually lasts no longer than 6 months once the stressor has ended. Adults can experience adjustment disorder, but it is more frequently diagnosed in children and adolescents (Adjustment Disorders, n.d.; Ramadhan et al., 2020). 

When to seek treatment? 

If you, or someone you love, is experiencing an adjustment or change in life causing difficulty in day-to-day activities and life functioning, please reach out to a professional. Receiving help and support early is essential in preventative care and could lessen the chance that symptoms will be prolonged or worsen.  When symptoms last longer than 6 months, and/or symptoms become more problematic and debilitating, (such as longer lasting depression and anxiety, not enjoying things that you used to like doing, and isolating more), it is strongly recommended that you reach out to mental health professional for support and guidance. Please seek immediate help if you are feeling suicidal.

What about children?

In children and adolescents, adjustment disorder symptoms can include feeling anxious or worried, depressed, hopeless, crying more, sleep difficulty, even increased stomach aches or headaches. They also can include acting out, disregard for rules and norms, being clingier, and having increased irritable moods (Adjustment Disorders, n.d.). 

Children and adolescents can be impacted by similar stressors as noted for adults above. Returning to school, post pandemic, is a stressor for students this coming school year (Ramadhan et al., 2020). Students have persevered during the past year and a half and adjusted from going to school every day, to quarantine, to virtual learning, school ending early, social distancing, teachers and friends wearing masks, hybrid learning, and now most returning to school for in-person learning with some restrictions. Not only have children persevered changes at school, but they have persevered changes at home as well, such as guardian’s work schedules and work place and who supervises the children when guardians are at work and the children home. Many students have adjusted well with the changes; however, some children may have difficulty adjusting and may be experiencing some increased reactive behaviors, such as acting out, and changes in mood.

When to seek treatment for children with symptoms of adjustment disorder?

Similar to adults, when symptoms occur within 3 months of the stressor, last longer than 6 months and/or the symptoms become more problematic and debilitating such as longer lasting depression and anxiety, loss of interest in playing by themselves or with others, loss of interest in extracurricular activities, increased behavioral outbursts and mood changes, or not wanting to go to school, it is time to seek support. If your child is experiencing these or similar symptoms, therapeutic services could be beneficial in assisting your child in feeling more secure and adjusting with recent stressors. Please seek immediate help if you’re student is feeling suicidal.

Reference

Adjustment Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/

conditions-and-diseases/adjustment-disorders 

Ramadhan, M., Putri, A. K., Melinda, D., Habibah, U., Fajriyah, U. N., Aini, S., Prananjaya, B. A., & Ikhsan, D. S. (2020). Children’s Mental Health in the Time of COVID-19: How Things Stand and the Aftermath. The Malaysian journal of medical sciences : MJMS, 27(5), 196–201. https://doi.org/10.21315/mjms2020.27.5.15

HOPE IS HERE

If you’re struggling with an adjustment disorder or would like to refer someone you know, we’d love to speak to you further. HOPE is here. Contact us today.

Early mornings, school bus routes, school supply runs… August means back to school! Whether you’re jumping for joy to have the kids out of the house or crying in your car after dropping them off for the first day – back to school always means transition and change.

If you didn’t know already, September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month! Its time to think about ways we can prevent suicide and how we can fight the stigma surrounding depression and suicide. We can create the cultural change needed to improve conversations about mental health and suicide prevention – simply by changing the language we use in discussing these matters. Words are powerful.

No, I’m not talking about skinny jeans. I’m talking about your therapist. Although finding the “right” therapist can be just as frustrating as finding that perfect pair of pants. No “sucking it in” should be necessary when finding someone to courageously share your shadow moments with. Feeling safe, accepted by, and challenged by your therapist are all essential to overcoming whatever ails you.

You’ve hit the wall. A tragedy has occurred. Nothing is going right.
Therapy is the first line of treatment in getting un-stuck. Whether you are going through a major life transition, feeling down, having relationship trouble, experiencing anxiety, or problematic usage of substances – therapy can help.

Websites offering in-depth information and advice related to medical conditions are not a new concept. Where there is a medical condition, there is a website with information that can be a great resource as people seek to learn more about for what ails them. Websites dedicated to mental health are no exception. In recent years sites offering online therapy sessions have evolved quite a bit.

Here at Georgia HOPE, we have really adopted the integrated care approach to providing mental health services because we believe that addressing the needs of the whole person is the best way to provide quality care.