Events, St. Tammany CHC Behavioral Health in Mandeville, St. Tammany CHC Behavioral Health in Slidell, Access Health Louisiana Primary Care at Pythian, Belle Chasse C.H.C, Kenner C.H.C., South Broad C.H.C, St. Bernard C.H.C., St. Charles – Norco C.H.C, St. Charles – Luling C.H.C, St. Tammany – Slidell C.H.C, Tangipahoa C.H.C, Washington C.H.C, Woodworth C.H.C.
Suicide Prevention Week: Treatment and Recovery
If you or someone you know has managed their immediate risk and is looking for treatment for their suicidal ideation, there are a combination of methods that are commonly used to help. Licensed Clinical Social Worker Vanice Zenon serves as Vice President of Behavioral Health for Access Health Louisiana. She describes what treatment and recovery for suicidality may look like for a patient. “The doctor may do a physical exam, tests and in-depth questioning about their mental and physical health to help determine what may be causing suicidal thinking and to determine the best treatment. In most cases, suicidal thoughts are linked to an underlying mental health issue that can be treated. If this is the case, the individual will be referred to a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental illness (psychiatrist) or other mental health provider.”
The backbone of most treatment is a form of psychotherapy. The two most common types of psychotherapy used to treat suicidality are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT. Both psychotherapies use tools to help individuals restructure their thought patterns and behaviors. CBT encourages individuals to recognize patterns in their thoughts and helps offer alternatives to those thoughts, especially those surrounding suicide. DBT offers specific tools across multiple modalities such as mindfulness, emotional regulation, and interpersonal communication. These skills have been shown to help lessen the risk of suicide especially in adolescence. For more information, please visit the National Institute of Mental Health’s page found here.
In addition to psychotherapy, medication often plays a role in treatment of suicide. Health care providers can work with individuals to find which specific combination of medications works for their brains. Medication can be a good tool in managing suicide risk, but it is important to have conversations with providers and pharmacists about the risks of the medications you are taking.
Finally, another long-term treatment option is collaborative care. This is a team-based approach to mental health care. This treatment method hinges on collaboration between different members of the mental health team. Having coordination of care between multiple support systems can help treat depression and reduce suicidal thoughts.
At the end of the day, treatment and recovery from suicide attempts hinges on the individuals’ connections with their support systems, and steps to help keep them safe in addition to these other long term treatment options. Tennessee’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has created this helpful handbook for recovery after a Suicide Attempt. If you or someone close to you has recently survived an attempt, this handbook could be a good resource to utilize in your recovery. If you or someone you know is seeking behavioral health services, whether that be psychotherapy, or psychopharmaceutical care, Access Health Louisiana is here to help you. Please call 1-866-530-6111 to set up an appointment with a social worker or psychiatrist. Additionally, patients and families of Access Health Louisiana can now access the myStrength app which provides digital behavioral health tools. It helps you target your behavioral health goals and provides tools to help you overcome whatever problems you are addressing. For more information about the myStrength app and the access codes AHL provides to utilizer it, visit Access Health Louisiana’s behavioral health page found here. Suicidal ideation can be treated, and you can find peace. Alternatively, if you have lost someone to suicide, Zenon highlights that “The suicide prevention resource center has tons of support groups and resources available for those who have lost loved ones to suicide.” These resources can be found at this link.