Effective Treatments for Suicide Prevention: Highlighting DBT During National Suicide Prevention Month
By Jeanette Lorandini
Each year in September, mental health professionals, advocates, and no allies come together to celebrate National Suicide Prevention Month and raise awareness of suicide prevention efforts. Within the month of September, the 10th is reserved for World Suicide Prevention Day, to remember those who have been impacted by suicide and to advocate for treatment to help those at risk. During this month, one treatment that should be at the forefront of conversations surrounding suicide prevention is dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). This service, which is offered at Suffolk DBT, is evidence-based and can teach people the skills necessary for managing upsetting emotions and coping with stressors without resorting to self-harm.
The Importance of Suicide Prevention
Treatments like those provided at Suffolk DBT are critical for addressing the nation’s mental health crisis. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 45,979 Americans died by suicide in 2020, which is equivalent to one death every 11 minutes. In addition to this figure, 12.2 million Americans seriously contemplated suicide, which demonstrates just how many people are affected by suicide and suicidal ideation.
Recognizing early warning signs of suicide can help friends and family members to identify and intervene with loved ones who are at risk. Some signs that may indicate a need for support and intervention efforts include:
- Verbal threats of self-harm
- Changes in sleep habits
- Mood swings
- Frequent crying
- Appearing sad
- Isolating from others
- Being silent or avoiding eye contact when around other people
- Risky behavior
- Making vague statements, such as, “There is no point to life.
- Talking or writing about death
If a loved one shows some or all of these signs, it’s important to reach out. You may be uncomfortable with discussing the topic of suicide, but the truth is that having a conversation just might save a life. You can offer support, communicate to them that there is help available, and encourage them to seek treatment.
Why DBT For Suicide Prevention?
If you or someone you love is struggling with intense negative emotions or thoughts of suicide, DBT is an effective treatment option. In fact, DBT was originally developed to reduce the risk of suicide among people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. It is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy that aims to reduce emotional dysregulation by using a delicate balance of acceptance and change during the therapeutic process. For instance, people in DBT treatment are taught to use mindfulness skills to be aware of and accept their emotions, while also learning to change dysfunctional behaviors and thought patterns.
DBT therapists are trained to intervene in situations in which clients are having thoughts of self-harm or suicidal ideation. In addition, one component of DBT is skills training groups, in which clients learn to manage dysfunctional behaviors that can lead to suicidal thoughts and behavior. In skills training sessions, clients learn strategies for coping with distress, maintaining healthy relationships, and regulating their emotions. Skills groups ultimately teach clients to maintain better control over their emotions, so they do not use self-harm to cope with painful emotions or crisis situations.
If you’re seeking treatment options to help yourself or someone in your life overcome suicidal ideation, DBT is a suitable choice. Studies have demonstrated that DBT is effective in reducing suicidal behavior, and it can play an important role in suicide prevention. As we call attention to treatments during National Suicide Prevention Month, it is important to have conversations about the benefits of DBT.
Suffolk DBT has offices in both Long Island and Manhattan, and we offer DBT services for children, adolescents, and adults. Contact us today to learn more or to complete a free screening call.
Suffolk DBT proudly provides quality dialectical behavior therapy, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, at their offices in Manhattan and Long Island, New York and online. Their experienced therapists specialize in serving teens, children, adults, and college students struggling with depression, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, and self-harm. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills and treatment can help you or your kids to manage emotions and work through life’s challenges.