Inpatient Child and Adolescent Suicidality, “Culture of death”, “13 Reasons Why” with Dr. Britt

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Dr. Britt, an expert with three decades of experience, breaks down the increasing trend in teen suicide.

In this episode I will be interviewing William Britt, PhD level clinical psychologist, an expert in cognitive behavioral therapy, object relations therapy, EMDR and a board certified neuropsychologist. He runs cognitive rehabilitation groups and neuropsychological assessments, and supervises neuropsychological fellows and interns. He also works closely with the psychiatric residents teaching about suicide.  

In this episode, Dr. William Britt explores his experiences running an inpatient psychiatric group for 5 to 13 year olds who are being treated for violence or attempted suicide, using uses a method based on Irving Yalom’s inpatient group psychotherapy technique.

We discuss how the trend of teen suicide has increased over the years. We also cover common bullying tactics and how cyber bullying has changed society.  We then discuss how to use the group's support to help each other move away from being suicidal. We explore how the Netflix TV series “Thirteen Reasons Why” has influenced young minds and the new terms the patients are using.

In the end, Dr. Britt and Dr. Puder answers how we adapt and recover from trauma, and how we find meaning and value within stress.  

13 Reasons Not To Commit Suicide by Dr. Britt

Compiled from insights from adolescent patients in inpatient group therapy.

  1. You will lose your future.  There will be no chance to fulfill your dreams, choose your occupation, and continue your family line.
  2. You will devastate your family. You may think they will feel sad for a short time, but they will be devastated for the remainder of their lives. You may not feel like they care, but deep down you know they do. Often families separate because of the pain and blame. If anger or revenge is part of your reason, you will not be alive to see how your targets respond. You will be dead and have no consciousness of what happens afterward to those in this life.
  3. You will hurt your friends. They will be grieving for a long time, and likely feel they have failed you.
  4. Your family and friends will feel terribly guilty that they were unable to help you and will struggle painfully with that guilt.
  5. There is always a part of you that wants to live, so you move from a wish to die to a wish to live and back again. If you kill yourself when the wish to die is strongest, while you are dying, you may regret it because you realize you really want to live, but it will be too late.
  6. You open the door for younger siblings and cousins to follow in your footsteps when they reach your age, deciding that since you handled pain by killing yourself they should also, which compounds family pain with more losses.
  7. Whoever finds your body will be traumatized for years with the memory of what you looked like.
  8. You lose the chance to have your pain treated by medication and therapy.
  9. If you are seeking to rejoin a loved one, you must ask, would that person want you to die so young? The answer is no.
  10. If you believe in God and that He has a purpose for your life, you must ask yourself if He wants you to take your own life before living out that purpose.
  11. It is important to consider that you are alive because of the wish of your ancestors to continue their family line.  If only one ancestor over thousands of years had decided to marry someone else, you would not have been born.
  12. You must consider your legacy. What memory do you want your family and friends to carry with them? You will be the one they remember who you took your own life and they will never understand why.
  13. Although you can start a self-harm action, there is no guarantee it will succeed. You may experience terrible pain, and you may end up disabled because of injury to some part of your body or brain. Then life will be even worse for you.

If you read this and our struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

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