Can Tech Help Prevent Teen Suicide?Lindsay Chambers
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 20% of high school students report seriously contemplating suicide, and 9% have attempted to take their lives. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention lists suicide as the third-leading cause of death among young people and the second-leading cause of death among college students. These heartbreaking statistics represent a nationwide teen mental health crisis that has gone unaddressed for far too long.
Factors Contributing to Teen Suicide Rates
Since the decision-making part of a teen’s brain doesn’t fully develop until their mid-20s, adolescents don’t evaluate risks the same way adults do. That’s why they tend to make decisions based on strong emotions instead of taking time to think things through.
Teenagers also tend to lack some of the social connections and responsibilities older adults have. For example, adults who have families and full-time jobs might think twice about ending their lives because so many people rely on them.
While anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders have been prevalent among adolescents for years, evidence suggests the unique stressors associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have made matters worse. According to CDC data, more than 140,000 American children lost primary or secondary caregivers to COVID-19 between April 2020 and June 2021.
Even families that are not grieving a loved one have had to navigate pandemic-related challenges like remote learning, isolation and economic strain.
Technology and Mental Health
Teenagers who grew up surrounded by technology and are digital natives naturally use the internet and their smartphones to navigate the world. Because they are accustomed to the convenience of having all the information in the world at their fingertips, they are less likely to seek answers in person if they can find what they need online. That includes mental health resources such as counseling.
Though many adults are quick to blame technology for worsening teens’ mental health, your teenager can use several practical apps, websites and other online resources if they are struggling with suicidal thoughts. They can also text or call 988 to reach the national Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and connect to trained mental health and substance use counselors.
The idea of going to weekly therapy appointments in person may be overwhelming for socially anxious teenagers or those who struggle with their executive functioning skills. Fortunately, teletherapy has become more accessible than ever in recent years, allowing your family to participate in counseling from the comfort of your home. Online therapy is equally effective as in-person sessions for treating common mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, and most clients report no difference in satisfaction between online and face-to-face therapy.
Customized Mental Health Care and Addiction Treatment
At R&A Therapeutic Partners, Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno are certified therapists, licensed mental health counselors and addiction professionals with more than 35 years of total experience in providing therapeutic consulting and intervention services. We help families rediscover their sense of hope with our outpatient programs and concierge-level crisis and case management. To learn how we can help your teen with their mental health needs, contact us today.
At R&A Therapeutic Partners Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno specialize in substance use and mental health disorder evaluations, treatment, intervention and therapeutic/educational consulting for clients throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as nationally and internationally. For more resources and information please visit Therapeutic-Partners.com or on Facebook.