At Crownview Psychiatric Institute, we understand that many people who have complex mental health disorders also struggle with self-harm and suicidal ideation. We closely supervise each client to ensure their safety while we help them learn to manage and overcome these dangerous urges.
Treatment at Crownview incorporates many of the principles that were established in the Unified Protocol for Transdiagnostic Treatment of Emotional Disorders. For clients who have a history of self-harm and/or suicidal ideation, this approach helps them make sustained progress toward goals such as the following:
- Experiencing relief from the symptoms of the mental health disorder they have developed
- Acquiring skills in areas such as distress tolerance, mindfulness, and cognitive flexibility
- Addressing maladaptive thought patterns and other vulnerabilities
- Taking control of their thoughts and actions
- Acting in a more purposeful and intentional manner
Every step of the way, every Crownview client is guided and supported by a team of dedicated professionals.
What Is Self-Harm?
Self-harm is the intentional infliction of pain or injury on one’s own body. This behavior is also sometimes referred to as self-injury and self-mutilation. People who engage in self-harm may try to hurt themselves in the following ways:
- Cutting or burning their skin
- Picking or scratching at cuts or scabs
- Inserting objects under their skin
- Pulling out their hair
- Repeatedly punching themselves
- Hitting their head or other body parts against hard objects
- Drinking or inhaling the fumes of poisonous liquids
Depending on a person’s intentions, potentially dangerous activities such as excessive exercise, reckless driving, and unsafe sex may also be methods of self-harm.
It is important to understand that self-harming behaviors are not suicide attempts. People who harm themselves in the manners listed above are not trying to end their own lives – though one of the many dangers of this practice is that self-harm can sometimes lead to accidental death.
In many cases, people who repeatedly self-harm do so for reasons such as the following:
- They want to punish themselves for a perceived shortcoming or failure.
- They feel that they have no control over their life. Self-harm is a way for them to exert some small level of control.
- They are attempting to give a physical presence to psychological pain or break through a sense of emotional numbness.
What Is Suicidal Ideation?
Suicidal ideation is the clinical term for thinking about suicide. Since this term can encompass a wide range of thoughts, many experts use the categories passive suicidal ideation and active suicidal ideation to identify which people may be in more immediate danger.
Passive Suicidal Ideation
People who experience passive suicidal ideation have contemplated ending their own lives, but they have not made a plan or taken any specific steps toward an actual attempt.
Passive suicidal ideation may include thoughts such as these:
- Wishing they could go to sleep and not wake up
- Being angry that they had ever been born
- Fantasizing about being killed in an automobile accident
Active Suicidal Ideation
People with active suicidal ideation may be close to making an attempt to end their life. Examples of active suicidal ideation include:
- Researching suicide techniques
- Making a detailed plan for ending their life
- Writing a letter explaining their decision
Please note that there is no such thing as “harmless” suicidal ideation. People with passive suicidal ideation may not be in imminent danger at the moment, but they can quickly develop active thoughts.
Anyone who is having any thoughts about suicide for any reason at all should consult with a qualified professional immediately.
Warning Signs of Self-Harm & Suicidal Ideation
It can be extremely difficult to determine if someone has been engaging in self-harm or having thoughts of suicide. Most people who harm themselves go to great lengths to hide this behavior from others. And many people who have suicidal ideation give no indication at all about what they have been considering.
However, in some cases, certain signs may indicate that a person has been harming themselves or thinking about ending their life.
Possible signs of self-harm:
- Frequent unexplained injuries
- Cuts and bruises that never seem to heal properly
- Wearing long pants and long sleeves, even in hot weather
- Emotional instability
- Overreacting to minor setbacks or challenges
- Often speaking about themselves in degrading or disparaging terms
- Sudden performance decline in school or at work
- Spending an increasing amount of time alone
Potential symptoms of suicidal ideation:
- Frequently talking about death and dying
- Stating they believe the world would be better without them
- Saying they wish they could simply disappear
- Expressing excessive guilt or shame
- Giving away valuable or sentimental possessions
- Increasing their use of substances to self-medicate
- Engaging in reckless or highly dangerous behaviors
- Pulling away from family and friends
- Sleeping much more or much less than usual
- Suddenly appearing to be at peace after an extended period of depression
Important note: If you have been considering suicide, or you believe that someone you know is at risk, please get help immediately. If you are in the United States, you can dial 988 or visit www.988lifeline.org to access the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. This service offers talk, text, and online chat options. When you contact the lifeline, you will be connected with a trained crisis counselor who can offer support and connect you with appropriate local resources.
Effects of Untreated Self-Harm & Suicidal Ideation
Untreated self-harm and suicidal ideation can expose a person to considerable damage. Potential effects include:
- Infections, organ damage, and other physical harm
- Health problems due to refusal to seek medical attention
- Onset or worsening of mental health disorders
- Persistent feelings of guilt and shame
- Diminishing self-esteem
- Increased risk of substance abuse
- Withdrawal and isolation
- Pervasive sense of hopelessness and helplessness
- Accidental or intentional death
Treatment for Self-Harm & Suicidal Ideation at Crownview
Treatment for clients who have been engaging in self-harm or experiencing suicidal ideation may involve medication, therapy, adjunct services, and wraparound support.
There is no medication that solely treats self-harm or suicidal ideation. However, if these challenges are related to anxiety, depression, psychosis, or another mental health disorder, medication can be beneficial. Depending on which type of disorder a person has developed, they may be helped by an antipsychotic, anti-depressant, mood stabilizer, or other medication.
Our clients all meet with a psychiatrist who can assess their needs and prescribe an appropriate medication.
Several types of therapy can help people who have been harming themselves or contemplating suicide. Crownview clients may benefit from these and other therapies:
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Acceptance & commitment therapy (ACT)
- Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT)
- Eye movement desensitization & reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
- Solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT)
- Strengths-based therapy
- Seeking Safety
Our adjunct services may be helpful for clients whose suicidal ideation or self-harming urges are related to anxiety, depression, and certain other mental health disorders. Adjunct options at our center include the following:
- GeneSight® testing
- Psychological testing
- IV vitamins
- IV ketamine
- Spravato® treatment
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
- Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) therapy
- Stellate ganglion block (SGB) therapy
Experienced case managers oversee each person’s care at Crownview. They also serve as liaisons to our client’s loved ones. If clients need help with activities such as applying for benefits or connecting with appropriate community services, their case managers can offer the necessary guidance and support.
Our case managers play a vital role in our effort to ensure that every client is prepared to make a successful transition out of treatment and achieve the best possible quality of life.
Community & Connection
Many people who engage in self-harm or experience suicidal ideation also struggle to find a place where they feel welcomed and accepted. When they arrive at Crownview Psychiatric Institute, this is exactly what they find.
In addition to offering personalized care and close supervision, our team is also committed to helping every client improve their ability to function within a healthy and supportive community. We work with each person in vital areas such as communicating more effectively, establishing and maintaining appropriate boundaries, forming healthy relationships, and both giving and receiving support.
We know that every Crownview client comes to our center with a unique set of strengths, needs, and objectives. We also realize that many of our clients have had similar experiences and are working toward similar goals. This dynamic combination of personalized treatment and shared development is one of the many features that make our center such as special place.
Learn More Today
To learn more about our programming for adults who have been engaging in self-harm or struggling with suicidal ideation, please contact us at your convenience. A member of our team can answer all your question and help you determine if Crownview Psychiatric Institute is the ideal place for you or your loved one.