At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we recognize how frightening it can be for children and adolescents to experience suicidal ideation, and we understand how terrifying it can be for their family members as well. Keeping this in mind, we offer specialized programming that is designed to meet the sensitive needs of these children and their families. Characterized by pervasive and intrusive thoughts about how a person would end his or her life, suicidal ideation can be all-consuming for the children who are afflicted by it. These ideations can range in severity from fleeting thoughts to the development of detailed, well thought-out plans. Although the majority of individuals who suffer from suicidal ideation do not follow through on their ideas, the line between thoughts and actions has the potential to be crossed at any time. However, such a devastating future can be prevented when appropriate treatment is received for suicidal thoughts.
Millcreek Behavioral Health has been a leading provider of behavioral healthcare and educational services to emotionally disturbed and developmentally delayed children and adolescents in the state of Mississippi for over 30 years. Maintaining our standing as the largest private provider of services to children and adolescents in the state, we strive to provide programming that emphasizes the individualization of treatment based on each child’s strengths. Our highly trained and qualified staff works towards increasing the self-esteem of all children who are entrusted into our care in order to build their confidence and increase their ability to successfully navigate through treatment. When children and adolescents come to us plagued by the presence of suicidal ideation, we will do everything in our power to help them overcome their trials while also teaching them the skills needed to embark on a bright and successful future.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Unfortunately, the majority of children and adolescents who are plagued by suicidal ideation will not reach out and ask for help. This may be due to the fact that they do not want to frighten their loved ones, or due to being ashamed of their thoughts, or simply being unable to explain what they are experiencing. Regardless of the reason why, the inner turmoil that these children face often remains silenced. As a result, it is imperative that parents take note of possible warning signs that may indicate that such devastating thoughts are plaguing their child. Examples of such warning signs for suicidal thoughts may include:
- Engaging in self-harming behaviors
- Dramatic mood swings
- Drop in academic performance
- Sleep disturbances
- Talking about death
- Writing about death
- Isolating oneself from family and friends
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Giving away personal possessions
- No longer participating in activities once enjoyed
If you have noticed your child displaying any of these signs, or if there are other behaviors that have caused you concern, it is extremely important that you consult with a mental health professional so that appropriate treatment interventions can be initiated. Even if you are unsure as to the severity of your child’s behavioral and temperament changes, it is always better to err on the side of caution. Having your child evaluated by a mental health professional may be the first step in changing his or her future for the better.
Why Consider Treatment at Millcreek Behavioral Health
When children and adolescents are suffering from suicidal ideation, there are many underlying issues that need to be addressed in order for true healing to be found. Residential treatment programs can be one of the most optimal and effective ways for children to receive the thorough, intensive treatment that they need in order to overcome these maladaptive thought patterns. By entering into a residential treatment program, children are walking into a safe environment where they are provided with monitoring 24/7, keeping them safe from potentially acting out on any of their ideations. Additionally, with this around-the-clock monitoring, children are afforded access to mental health professionals at all hours of the day and night who provide them with immediate support should they feel as though they are in crisis, or if they start to feel overwhelmed by their devastating thoughts. In this environment, children are able to step away from the triggers and stresses of their everyday lives that may elicit or exacerbate their suicidal ideation and instead focus solely on becoming well again. Through a variety of therapeutic interventions, residential treatment programs can assist children and adolescents as they overcome the thoughts that plague them, regain a sense of self-confidence and self-worth, and develop coping skills that will help them successfully manage future stresses.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we are dedicated to helping children lead healthier, more productive lives. By offering programming that places a strong emphasis on a child’s inherent strengths, our caring and compassionate staff tailors treatment plans to be individualized based on each child’s unique set of needs, as well as on the skills he or she already has in place. We strive to consistently encourage the growth of children’s self-esteem and enhance their level of self-confidence and independence by developing activities that are based specifically on each patient’s strengths. Each child’s treatment process remains malleable as we incorporate changes based on needs or challenges as they arise. We also place a strong emphasis on the educational aspect of treatment, keeping in mind the crucial role that education plays in a child’s development and on his or her future. At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we are devoted to consistently improving our programming by persistently addressing any requests, concerns, or issues that are brought forth in our patient surveys. Our patients are our top priority and we make it our sole mission to do all that we can to ensure their lasting success.
Types of Treatment Offered at Millcreek Behavioral Health
At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we strive to offer excellent customer service to everyone with whom we come in contact. We pride ourselves in our quick response to inquiries and referrals, and our admissions staff works diligently to ensure that a smooth and timely transition into our care is offered for all potential patients. Once children have been admitted into our psychiatric residential treatment program, they will partake in a number of therapeutic interventions that are tailored to meet each of their specific needs, while simultaneously enhancing and building upon the strengths they already possess. We use a cognitive behavioral approach to therapy in our programs here at Millcreek, which ensures that maladaptive thinking patterns are changed and positive behaviors are reinforced. Research-based journaling is utilized throughout individual and group therapies, which assists patients as they find success in their own treatment path.
The dedicated staff at Millcreek Behavioral Health is proud to offer a positive-reinforcement based approach to care, guiding patients as they work through a Phase System throughout the course of treatment. This Phase System includes four distinct phases, Exploration, Knowledge, Motivation, and Achievement, and is accompanied by identified safety levels that rewards children on their progress through treatment. Such progress is acknowledged through each patient’s journaling and includes helping children identify triggers that lead to their behaviors, as well as helping them come to understand the importance of accepting the consequences of their behaviors.
The following therapeutic interventions are incorporated into the overall, comprehensive care provided to patients in our psychiatric residential treatment program:
Medication management: The use of psychotropic medications may be beneficial in helping to alleviate some of the symptoms of mental illnesses that may be present in children who are experiencing suicidal ideation. Such needs will be determined on an individualized basis. We have board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrists on staff and on call 24/7, as well as psychiatric nurse practitioners and family physicians who are available to meet any needs that our patients may have. Children are seen at least once each week for medication management.
Individual therapy: Individual therapy sessions are designed to be a time for children to meet one-on-one with their therapists in order to track treatment progress, discuss any concerns or challenges they are facing, and to work on individual skill-building. These sessions occur at a minimum of once each week, but most patients benefit from additional sessions, as determined based on need or when requested.
Group therapy: Group therapy sessions occur at a minimum of three times per week, but are typically held more often. All group sessions are individualized based on the needs of the children present, but common topics of discussion include anger management, coping skills, relationships, independent living skills, trauma, and patient/student rights.
Family therapy: At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we recognize how important family involvement is in a child’s healing process and therefore hold family therapy sessions at a minimum of twice per month. We also afford children the ability to make phone calls or visit with their family on a regular basis, ensuring that all family involvement is individualized in order to promote the most positive interaction possible for our patients and their families.
Education: All patients attend our onsite school Monday through Friday from 9am-3pm. All classes are led by Highly Qualified Licensed Teachers and classrooms have a student to teacher ratio of 10:1 maximum. There is at least one therapeutic aide present in all classrooms and one-to-one aides are provided for children when academically necessary.
Experiential therapies: In order to provide a fully holistic approach to treatment, we offer a number of additional therapeutic options on top of the traditional therapeutic methods. Such options include:
- Recreational therapy (held daily for all patients)
- Music therapy (including individual music and choir dance)
- Art projects
- Fitness club (intensive fitness programming is offered along with nutritional education)
- Walking club
- Book club
- Gym time (including activities such as flag football, volleyball, etc.)
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
At Millcreek Behavioral Health, we understand how intimidating the end of treatment can be for many children and their families. For this reason, all discharge and aftercare planning begins at the time of admission. Appropriate discharge criteria is created for each patient depending upon his or her needs and treatment goals. Once that criteria has been successfully met, the patient’s treatment team works with him or her as the next, most appropriate level of care is determined. Aftercare planning includes recommendations from the patient’s treatment team for medical, educational, and psychiatric services. Our staff will do everything in our power to ensure that the transition back into a less restrictive setting is a smooth and comfortable one for all parties involved, knowing that the most important thing is that your child continues to be successful.