The numbers are sad and scary. CBS reports on a new study showing that “Suicide is now the third leading cause of death among American adolescents”. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that the number of kids and teens hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or attempts more than doubled in the U.S. from 2008 to 2015.
The study author, Dr. Gregory Plemmons, an associate professor of pediatrics with the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University, points out that “it’s important to know the warning signs. Certainly major changes in sleep and appetite can be red flag”. He also notes, “We know that increasing screen time on electronic devices is a marker for depression, as well, so talking to teens about their use of media is important”.
We can change this! We need to talk about it. We need to fight to remove the stigma and to provide appropriate mental health interventions. Teens are often uncomfortable with traditional talk therapy. They may be confused about how they feel and may even be frightened of their own feelings. We need to provide supportive options.
That’s where Equine Assisted Therapy can be helpful. We work in partnership with therapists and caregivers to provide a supportive, non-judgemental and gently challenging environment for social, emotional, behavioral growth and learn, as well as a unique mental health intervention.
Through work with horses we can help build self-esteem and self confidence. We can improve personal boundaries and problem solving skills. We can help clients work through fears and anxiety, while they learn and practice self-soothing and calming skills. Additionally, the relationship a client builds with their horse is unique and powerful, especially in this time of technology and less interpersonal interaction.
If you know a teen that is struggling, SEEK HELP! We are here for you. Call or email and we will schedule a time for you to visit the ranch. We will show you around, introduce our wonderful herd, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.