Suicidal ideation, which is the clinical term for having thoughts about ending one’s own life, is a clearly distressing and potentially devastating experience. In many cases, suicidal ideation is symptomatic of a mental health disorder such as depression or posttraumatic stress disorder, while in other instances no mental illness is present. Regardless of the cause, anyone who considers killing him or herself is in crisis and can benefit from effective professional care at a treatment center, clinic, or similar program.
The intensity of suicidal ideation can vary considerably, ranging from relatively brief passing thoughts to a persistent focus that includes the development of detailed plans. Depending upon the nature of a person’s suicidal ideation, proper treatment may involve outpatient therapy, a stay in a residential treatment center, or hospitalization. If you believe that someone in your life is in imminent danger of suicide, you should contact a local emergency responder or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
Once the risk of immediate harm has passed, a program such as Longleaf Hospital in Alexandria, LA, may be the optimal placement to help your loved one process the experiences and emotions that may have contributed to his or her suicidal ideation. At Longleaf Hospital, adolescents and adults can receive the comprehensive personalized care that will identify and address any mental health disorders or other factors that may have contributed to their struggles with suicidal ideation and can empower them to live healthier and more satisfying lives.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Discovering that someone in your life has been dealing with suicidal ideation can be a jarring and upsetting experience. However, it is important to understand that you can play an essential role in keeping your loved one safe and ensuring that he or she receives the professional treatment that will help him or her to manage distress in a healthier manner. Please consider the following:
First, as noted in the previous section, if you believe that your loved one poses an immediate harm to him- or herself, get help immediately. Summon an emergency responder in your area, call 911, or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
Do not be afraid to ask your loved one if he or she has been considering suicide or is otherwise struggling with psychological pain. Talking about this topic will not put ideas into your loved one’s head or otherwise raise his or her risk for suicide. In fact, your willingness to broach this topic may be an essential act of support that demonstrates to your loved one that he or she is not alone.
In addition to talking to your loved one, affirming your love and support, and listening to him or her, it will be important to educate yourself. Your observations and your loved one’s willingness or hesitance to talk about what he or she is experiencing can guide your initial research.
Consult reputable websites, contact mental health organizations in your area, or reach out to your family physician to get information about the symptoms that your loved one has been dealing with and the behaviors that he or she has been exhibiting. A key component of your research will be to identify clinics, treatment centers, and other providers that offer the type and level of care that appears to be best suited to meeting your loved one’s needs.
Ideally, you should not attempt to accomplish this all on your own. If at all possible, get a small group of trusted friends or family members to help you monitor your loved one’s safety, learn about the issues and potential solutions, and serve as sources of support for each other. If someone that you care about is at risk of suicide, this experience will have an impact on you and on other loved ones as well. Remember that your ability to best support your loved one will be contingent upon your willingness and ability to tend to your own physical and emotional needs.
Once you have identified sources of professional help for your loved one, do whatever you can to eliminate obstacles that may prevent him or her from entering treatment. Schedule appointments, provide transportation, accompany him or her to clinic visits, arrange for childcare, and offer other forms of tangible support so that your loved one is free to focus on his or her health.
Finally, remember that your loved one’s recovery may be a long process, and he or she may experience setbacks along the way. If your loved one’s suicidal ideation is a symptom of a mental health disorder, the recovery process may be even more complicated. Prepare to be a source of ongoing love and support during and after your loved one’s time in treatment.
Why Consider Treatment at Longleaf Hospital
People who have suicidal thoughts often feel very isolated and alone. They may feel that no one understands the pain they are going through and that there is nothing anyone can do to help them. As noted earlier on this page and elsewhere on this website, many different kinds of pain can lead to suicidal ideation, including loss, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, medical conditions, substance abuse and addiction, and a host of other factors.
The isolation of untreated suicidal ideation may also preclude a person from receiving proper treatment for the underlying cause of the physical or psychological torment, which can serve only to exacerbate his or her suffering, and may prompt him or her to engage in maladaptive coping behaviors such as substance abuse.
Ongoing untreated suicidal ideation and worsening physical and/or mental health can combine to undermine an individual’s ability to perform to expectation in school or at work, to get and keep a job, to develop and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships, to establish financial independence, and to otherwise participate in a healthy, productive, and satisfying lifestyle. Even if suicidal thoughts do not cause a person to attempt suicide, struggling with such thoughts can lead to significantly diminished quality of life.
Thankfully, with the effective comprehensive treatment at Longleaf Hospital in Alexandria, Louisiana, adolescents and adults whose lives have been impacted by suicidal ideation can avoid future harm, heal from past damage, and develop the skills and strategies that will enable them to pursue more hopeful and promising futures.
Types of Treatment Offered at Longleaf Hospital
Located in Alexandria, LA, Longleaf Hospital is the area’s leading provider of individualized psychiatric care for children, adolescents, teens, and adults who are suffering from suicidal ideation and a host of other difficulties. Having recently completed a full upgrade of clinic facilities in 2015, Longleaf offers a tranquil setting in which to heal. Our hospital is set amongst a peaceful wooded area but is easily accessible off of highway 28 near the Alexandria Coliseum.
At Longleaf Hospital, we seek to provide the highest level of psychiatric care while treating each child, adolescent, and adult. Our program’s mission is to support long-term success for patients both during treatment at this clinic and after they return home. This is accomplished through the work of our expert team of highly qualified mental health and medical staff who are committed to providing dignity in treatment and to empowering patients to lead healthy, productive lives.
Patients who come to Longleaf may be struggling with a wide variety of psychiatric concerns, and treatment for suicidal ideation will consist of various supports that are tailored to address each patient’s unique strengths and challenges. For adult patients who are struggling with a substance use disorder in addition to suicidal ideation, Longleaf is pleased to provide comprehensive care to address chemical dependencies of many types, including addictions to alcohol, benzodiazepines, heroin, opioids, marijuana, PCP, methamphetamines, cocaine, hallucinogenic, synthetics, and more.
Options for treatment at our clinic span the continuum of care and include several options in order to provide the ideal treatment environment for every patient. We are also proud to offer specialized supports for active and retired military personnel and their dependents.
Upon admission, each patient is thoroughly assessed prior to beginning services at Longleaf, and a personalized plan of care is devised to encourage the most beneficial outcomes possible, no matter what level of care the patient is engaged in.
Short-term acute inpatient care is offered for children and adolescents ages 11-17 and adults ages 18 and above. In this setting, patients can receive a variety of supportive services designed to help them overcome suicidal ideation, including:
- Medically assisted, supervised detoxification programming
- Medical services from nurse practitioners and doctors
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Motivational enhancement therapy (MET)
- Rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT)
- 12-Step based services
In addition to the treatment modalities listed above, all children, adolescents, and adults who seek care at Longleaf will have access to the following therapies:
- Medication management: If an individual’s symptoms can be effectively treated with prescription medications, our team can include medication management services into his or her personalized treatment plan. All medication decisions will involve the input and consent of the individual in treatment and/or his or her parents or guardians.
- Individual therapy: Master’s level social workers provide this one-on-one service to allow all patients to process issues from the past and present that have contributed to the onset of suicidal ideation. In this private, confidential setting, individuals can discuss the challenges and successes that arise in treatment, and make a plan for continued success after leaving Longleaf.
- Family therapy: Family therapy is offered twice weekly and is designed to engage a patient’s loved ones in his or her recovery journey, to heal damaged relationships, and to increase the functionality of the family unit.
- Group therapy: All patients at Longleaf will have many opportunities to participate in group therapy. Offered daily, this intervention is used to help patients learn from each other, and to combat the sense of isolation that is common amongst those suffering from the symptoms of mental illness, including suicidal ideation. Group discussions are varied but could include topics such as anger management, impulse control, coping skills, and discharge planning.
At Longleaf Hospital, we are proud to have a long history of providing superior service to active duty military members, veterans, and their families. Our military support efforts are led by our medical director, a retired Army colonel who works closely with all military members who heal at Longleaf. We do not have a specialized treatment track for military members, but we ensure that the unique issues and challenges that are experienced by members of the military community are addressed in each patient’s personalized treatment plan, and we place a premium on ensuring that all military-affiliated patients receive the customized care that will best prepare them for long-term success.
In addition to Longleaf Hospital’s acute inpatient care program, the partial hospitalization program (PHP) is another option for support that is available to adult patients age 18 and above. PHP at Longleaf, which typically spans a time period of 2 to 6 weeks, has been proven successful in addressing suicidal ideation. This option is suitable for patients who require a high level of support, but who are able to return to their home environments in the evening.
Programming within this level of care is based on 12-Step ideology, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and motivational interviewing. Medication management is also available within PHP at Longleaf, and patients can meet with a psychiatrist twice per week while in this program. Individual, family and group therapies are also provided, as well as thorough discharge planning.
The least acute option for care for suicidal ideation at Longleaf Hospital is the intensive outpatient program (IOP). This form of support can be used as a step-down level of care from other programs, or for adults age 18 and above who do not require a higher level of care. Typically lasting 8 to 12 weeks, IOP at Longleaf consists of medication management services and various time-tested therapeutic techniques designed to address suicidal ideation.
Learn More Today
The admissions staff at Longleaf is available to speak with referral sources and prospective patients and their families 24/7. Upon contacting Longleaf, a licensed intake counselor can provide an initial assessment, and answer any questions that you may have about healing at our hospital. The decision to seek care for suicidal ideation may be a difficult one, but the compassionate professional team at Longleaf Hospital in Alexandria, Louisiana, is here to ensure that you find the very best support for yourself or a loved one.