Study Questions Effectiveness of Therapy for Suicidal Teenagers

From today’s New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/health/gaps-seen-in-therapy-for-suicidal-teenagers.html?partner=rss&emc=rss∣=tw-nytimes&_r=0

[Updated Jan 11 – because the WP app for my phone I posted this from is less than stellar.]

Teenage years are very difficult.  Trying to help a suicidal teen is ten times more difficult.  What is as disturbing as it is unfortunate is the sense I get every time I read an article on teen depression and suicide: there is an undercurrent from the mental health establishment that they are somewhat at a loss on how to really treat these problems in this segment of the population.   Dr. Brent of the University of Pittsburgh said it best. “We can treat components of the overall problem, but that’s about all.”

I know.  And it haunts me every day.

I just stopped seeing my therapist, the treatment had always been mediocre, I never felt she understood bipolar. She mainly delt with couples and children. I started seeing her because she was in the village, this was during the time when I was afraid to drive. So our last session I asked if she knew what cyclothymia was, she didn’t. I asked if she knew the difference between bipolar I & II, she had a slight understanding. Once I called her during a panic attack left a desperate message and she didn’t call back.
My point is a therapist is not always equipped to deal with severe mental illness. Questions need to be asked in advance about their knowledge
of the problems your dealing with.

Hi, Gale. I couldn’t agree more. Yes, some therapists like to concentrate in family or couples, and that’s fine. But if they have a person in their office who clearly has an issue they aren’t familiar with, they should refer the client to someone else. Heck, you wouldn’t send someone with a heart condition to a sports medicine Dr! Hope you are doing well. Thanks for replying!

I wonder if the “therapy” this article talks about is mostly just throwing medication at a teen (and a huge face-palm about the mother who didn’t monitor whether her child actually *took* the meds!). Of course that won’t work. Or seeing a mediocre therapist, like gale1234 talks about above. The combination of treatments at the end of the article *should* be standard when dealing with a teen who has multiple issues. That and constant monitoring.

Yes, I agree. [And, how could a parent not check if their child is taking their psychiatric med? Heck, I still check if my 17 year old takes his OTC cough med when he has a cold. (Most of the time he’s forgotten.)] Mental healthcare is in such a sad state. The establishment still isn’t in a place where it can agree on a standard approach that includes multiple treatments. Imagine if cancer treatment were in such a state if disarray.

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