Homework: Adolescent Suicide & PTSD

I’m in my 3rd week of my Crisis Response: Acute Stress, Grief & Trauma class at Liberty University. Some of the topics are hard to learn about (abuse, PTSD. teen and adult suicide, grief, dying). My heart goes out to the hurting & I will admit there had been times when I sit & cry, mostly I talk to God about it.

Here is a homework assignment we had to write this past week. I will be doing a 12 page research paper on Crisis Interventions of Teen Suicide Within Churches by the end of the term.

My post

  • HW Question 1: What are warning signs of adolescent suicide and what are key preventative strategies?

According to Leming and Dickinson (2016), some warning signs of adolescent suicide could be any unusual behaviors or bizarre behaviors, giving away personal items, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, talking or writing about death, etc. Christopher Merchant et al. (2009), “note the strongest predictor of an adolescent suicide attempt is a previous attempt” (as cited in Leming & Dickinson, 2016, p. 323). There are some key preventative strategies for adolescent suicide, such as supportive relationships within the family and community (Leming and Dickinson, 2016).  Mentoring high-risk teens, connecting the teen to resources such as counseling or hotlines are also preventative strategies (Lening & Dickinson, 2016). Furthermore, always listening and respond if an adolescent has a plan to attempt suicide.

  • HW Question 2: How prevalent is PTSD and what are key prevention strategies?

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is common among combat veterans and people exposed to traumatic events that “involve intense fear, helplessness, or horror” (Everly & Lating, 2013, p. 407); such as bombings, childhood abuse, natural disasters, etc. Some key prevented strategies for PTSD are psychopharmacotherapy (prescribe medications), psychotherapy, neurological hypersensitivity therapy, and psychological hypersensitivity therapy (Everly & Lating, 2013). The combination of medications and cognitive behavior therapy are also used in treating PTSD. “Making sense of the traumatic event, improving self-image, decreasing stress, increasing interpersonal relationships” (Everly & Lating, 2013, p. 420), and avoidances of triggers are also ways to treat PTSD. Most importantly, treatment of PTSD should be customized to the individual (Everly & Lating, 2013).

  • HW Question 3: What is the biblical response to those struggling with PTSD, and how can the church carry out this response?

The biblical response to those struggling with PTSD can be seen in 1 Corinthians 13:13 (New International Version), “and now these three remain faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Faith in God as a refuge and being able to call upon him as in Psalm 61:2-3, “from the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.” There is hope that healing will come in God’s timing; God offers sufficient grace to bear hardship as he did for Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10. Additionally, there is the love of God and the love of the church that can help people with PTSD. The Bible says, the church is one body but many parts when one part suffers, every part suffers with it (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).  The church should respond by being compassionate; showing patience, kindness, and gentleness (Fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23) to those struggling with PTSD. Finally, a Church who educates themselves about PTSD can help bring healing to a person with PTSD.

References

Everly, G. S., Jr. & Lating, J. M. (2013). A clinical guide to the treatment of the human stress response (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.

Leming, M. R. & Dickinson, G. E. (2016). Understanding dying, death, and bereavement (8th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Part of my reply to other students:

Student 1: Adolescent Suicide

Adolescent suicide is indeed a problem within the United States with it being the leading cause of death for that age group. One of the things mentioned is sexual orientation can affect adolescents’ self-image.  In Genesis 1:27 it states, “So God created mankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” along with verse 31, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning) teens are twice as likely to attempt suicide as straight adolescents” (as cited in Barker et al., 2016). How can churches and Christians help adolescents realize their identity is in God as his image bearers, and accept that God created males and females as good?

PTSD

There are two statements from the text’s reading that enters the mind when thinking about PTSD. One being from; Epictetus, a Greek-Roman fifth century philosopher who allegedly said, “Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them” (Everly & Lating, 2013, p. 28). The other is; “Stressors, like beauty, lie in the eye of the beholder” (Everly & Lating, 2013, p. 28). Base on these two statements, PTSD is how individuals perceived and respond to traumatic events. This does not mean the trauma is not real because it is to the person who experienced it. It means each of us has a different view and response to the events around us. What is okay for one person or culture may not be okay for another person or culture. Which lead to what Everly and Lating (2013, p. 420) states, PTSD treatment “needs to be tailored to the specific needs of the individual patient.”    

References

Barker, M., Parkinson, D., & Knoll, B. (2016). The LGBTQ MORMON crisis: Responding to the empirical research on suicide. Dialogue : A Journal of Mormon Thought, 49(2), 1-24,197-201. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/docview/1832580232?accountid=1208

Everly, G. S., Jr. & Lating, J. M. (2013). A clinical guide to the treatment of the human stress response (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Spring

Students 2: PTSD

I found it interesting that your post perceived PTSD from the results of abuse. Dr. Diane Langberg, asks a defining question in the presentation Trauma and Abuse (AACC, n.d.) for Christians and churches to consider; “How is the mind to grasp a world created and loved by God that does include abuse?” I agree with Dr. Langberg’s answer that “we should learn from our Lord” to the question “how we should respond to victims, so they are helped and transformed” (AACC, n.d.). Victims can have a distorted view of God and an image of themselves. There is a need for Christians to sit in the darkness with the hurting and meet them where they are to bring the light of our Lord to them.

Reference

American Association of Christian Counselors (n.d.) Trauma and abuse {Video file]. Liberty University Online.

God’s love and peace be with you.

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