Family, faith vital in teens’ well-being—psychiatrist

Posted By: Chris Costuya On:

MANILA, Nov. 5, 2011–Open communication with parents as well as faith practices carried out as a family are among the things vital to young people’s well-being and which minimize risk factors for suicide, according to a psychiatrist.

Things that have proven to be beneficial in keeping the youth happy and healthy in relation to family are “a sense of being accepted and loved for who they are, a sense of being understood, being able to communicate openly with parents without fear of rejection or anger, and having some independence — being given some amount of autonomy [with a] background of clear, reasonable house rules. Consistent, supportive parenting [is also crucial],” said Aileene Nepomuceno, M.D., who specializes in child and adolescent psychiatry.

Also important is “some form of spirituality that the family practices together,” she added.

Many of the reported cases of suicide in the Philippines during the last several months have involved conflicts in relationships around the time of each incident. Notably, a number of the cases involved teens and stressful situations they were experiencing with either loved ones or peers.

Suicide attempts in young people nearly always follow some stressful event, most often a problem in a relationship, Nepomuceno observed, adding that among the risk factors based on a study she did were family conflicts, substance abuse, stressful domestic situation (involving people with whom the person was living before the suicide), and involvement in a relationship.

“Rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in 1/3 of countries, in both developed and developing countries,” stated clinical psychiatrist Ma. Rita Esguerra, M.D.

Factors such as feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy, as well as a sense that one is better off dead have contributed to young people’s consideration of taking their own lives, based on studies.

“Such factors usually rise from a sense of not being understood by significant others or from the perception that one has lost the support of significant others,” Esguerra explained.

The role of the person’s cognitive state, however, is also to be considered, she pointed out.

Since it is in the home that people spend their formative and teenage years, much of establishing strong family bonds and grounding them on faith practices — two of the things that contribute to young people’s happiness and well-being — depend on the family. (CBCP for Life)


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