Suicidal ideation can be an extremely frightening experience for children and adolescents. Some youth are plagued by these thoughts without understanding why, while others may be able to identify a specific occurrence or set of occurrences that happened that have led to their feeling of lack of control of their future and helpless as to what they can do to alleviate their negative emotions. Others still may suffer from suicidal ideation as a symptom of a mental health disorder, whether it be diagnosed or not yet identified. Regardless of the reasons why these maladaptive thought patterns exist, their presence alone can be devastating. While suicidal ideation refers to the recurrent thoughts that one has about how he or she would end his or her own life, and typically fails to involve the intent to follow through on these thoughts, the line between thought and action can be crossed at any time. This is why it is imperative that treatment be sought early on, so that these children have the opportunity to learn healthy coping skills in order to overcome these destructive thought patterns before they feel as though they have no other option than to follow through on them.
Resource Treatment Center is a residential placement for children and adolescents between the ages of 8 and 21 who are in need of a safe, secure, and structured setting while addressing behavioral and emotional impairments and deficits. All of our programs are designed to provide intensive mental health treatment for psychiatric, behavioral, and/or chemical dependency concerns in a comfortable and nonthreatening environment that is conducive to healing and recovery. At Resource, we recognize that having a child who is suffering from suicidal ideation can be heart-wrenching, scary, and leave you feeling helpless, but we are here to help both you and your child. Our compassionate staff has years of experience helping children learn to gain control of their symptoms and develop the coping skills needed to successfully move forward towards a bright and happy future.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
While the presence of suicidal ideation is terrifying for the child or adolescent who is experiencing it, it can be just as terrifying for his or her family as well. If there have been changes in your child’s behavior or temperament that are causing you concern, and you fear that he or she may be experiencing suicidal ideation, it is imperative that you get him or her the treatment that he or she needs. The following are some warning signs to look out for that may indicate that a child or adolescent is struggling with suicidal ideation:
- Participating in self-harming behaviors (things such as wearing long-sleeved shirts or pants when it is warm outside may also be a sign that a child is purposely injuring him or herself and is making an attempt to hide it)
- Verbally threatening to hurt him or herself
- Noticeable changes in physical appearance (this can include things such as not bathing as frequently and no longer caring about how he or she looks)
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Dramatic shifts in mood
- Talking and/or writing about death
- Beginning to give away his or her possessions without explanation
- Acting reckless or participating in high-risk behaviors
- Significant weight gain or weight loss
Due to the fact that the signs or symptoms that present when someone is experiencing suicidal ideation will vary from child to child, anything that stands out to you as a parent should be taken into consideration. All warning signs should be taken seriously and appropriate treatment should be implemented as soon as possible.
Why Consider Treatment at Resource
Making the decision to admit your child into a residential treatment program can be one of the most difficult things that you do as a parent. Yet, it is also one of the best things that you can do for your child. Being afforded the opportunity to receive treatment in a residential setting allows children and adolescents to walk away from the routines of their everyday lives; routines and stressors that may be aiding in the prolonged existence of their suicidal ideation. Residential treatment programs provide a safe, secure, and comfortable environment for children to recover, while also providing them with the monitoring they need 24/7 so as to prevent them from making the potentially fatal decision to act on their thoughts. Through the implementation of a variety of therapeutic techniques, the support of mental health professionals, the support of their peers, and the possible introduction of medication, the symptoms of suicidal ideation can be successfully treated and children can return to living the happy, healthy lives they deserve to be living.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
Resource Treatment Center is dedicated to providing structured and therapeutically intensive treatment that offers comprehensive, efficient, and effective programming that is designed to meet the needs of the youth and the families that we serve. At Resource, we focus on providing a safe and comfortable environment while the children and adolescents in our care receive individualized services tailored to meet their specific needs. We strive to deliver programming that allows youth to experience a sense of normalcy while taking part in the treatment process, while also benefiting from a vast array of services that are centered on an evidence-based therapeutic foundation. Maintaining the goal of stabilizing emotional, behavioral, and psychological symptoms, the staff at Resource guides patients through treatment so that they can be successfully reintegrated back into the community.
Types of Treatment Offered at Resource
At Resource Treatment Center, we utilize a number of sound, evidence-based practices that are designed to produce successful treatment outcomes. Upon arrival at Resource, each youth is evaluated using multiple assessment tools, allowing us to appropriately match therapeutic treatment techniques with each patient’s unique needs, risks, and strengths. We offer two separate, distinct residential treatment programs that include our psychiatric residential treatment (PRTF) and our general residential program (RTC). The intake assessment that our patients take part in prior to admission will determine which program is better suited to fully meet the needs of each child. We implement a phase system approach to treatment in which each patient is required to go through four specific phases in order to successfully complete programming. These phases include identification, connection, demonstration, and contribution. Both the PRTF program and the RTC program include the following treatment methods:
Medication management: Every patient who takes part in one of the programs here at Resource will meet with a psychiatrist regularly in order to monitor any medication needs. Youth in the PRTF program will see a psychiatrist on a weekly basis while those in the RTC program see a psychiatrist on a monthly basis.
Individual therapy: Individual therapy sessions are held on a weekly basis and are meant to be a time for each patient to meet one-on-one with a therapist in order to focus on the application and generalization of new skills. These skills can then be implemented in the child’s home and community life. We also offer individual skills-building sessions that focus on six specific proficiencies, including: educational, social, emotional, self-care, health and wellness, and daily living skills.
Group therapy: Group therapy sessions are held at a minimum of once per day, but children may participate in more groups depending on their specific needs. We have a number of different types of groups that cover a variety of different topics, including social skills, mood regulation, anger management, healthy coping skills, and independent living skills. The main purpose of group therapy is to provide a structured, skills-based program that allows for learning skills to be developed while also promoting specific critical skills in a structured and encouraging setting.
Family therapy: Family therapy sessions are held at least every two weeks, but may occur more often if family members are local or request more sessions. During this time, therapists will move the family unit as a whole through the treatment process in order to enhance motivation and establish a collaborative approach. Additionally, every Tuesday night we hold a family night in order to help educate family members about their child’s disorder and treatment process.
School programming: At Resource Treatment Center, all patients attend a fully accredited on-site school for three hours each day. Classes are held in a traditional classroom setting and are led by fully qualified special education teachers. Additional school services are offered, including credit recovery and GED preparation.
In addition to our regular treatment techniques, we also offer a number of experiential programming options, including:
- Daily recreational group therapy
- Student council
- Pro-social activities
- Computer lab
- Girl Scouts (Boy Scouts program will be starting in the near future)
- Spiritual youth group ministry
- Teen outreach program
- Community volunteering opportunities
- Community outings
- Holiday activities
- Special ceremonies in which awards are given to celebrate successes
- NA meetings for youth who are struggling with substance abuse concerns
Other services that are offered as part of our comprehensive programming include:
- 24-hour medical and nursing coverage
- Crisis intervention
- Dental and vision care
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
All discharge planning begins once a child has been admitted to our program. Here at Resource, we place a high priority on effective discharge planning in order to ensure that all continuing care needs are in place before the child leaves our treatment center. We have a criteria put in place to warrant a successful discharge. The criteria that a child must meet in order to be considered safe to successfully discharge include the following:
- Youth has reached a level of stability at which this level of placement is no longer needed
- Youth displays significantly improved conditions by exhibiting little or no maladaptive behaviors
- Youth is able to articulate plans to manage his or her emotional and/or behavioral responses in regards to various psychosocial stressors
- Youth is better able to manage potential family conflict
- The family of the youth has demonstrated a commitment towards successful reunification based on their level of participation in their child’s treatment
- There are reasonable expectations that the youth will be compliant with family rules and expectations, as well as remain free from legal involvement
- Youth has articulated plans to manage independent living skills, such as employment, school, etc.
- Youth has taken an active part in his or her discharge planning and can reasonably be expected to follow through on all aspects of that discharge plan
- Youth demonstrates the ability to maintain a lower risk of participating in unsafe behaviors that present them as a risk to the community