Desert Hills Hospital understands the importance of being able to identify and treat symptoms of a myriad of mental health conditions, including suicidal ideations. We believe that in order to truly help those who to come to us for care, we must address and alleviate the concerns that plague our patients most. Suicidal ideation, a symptom that is cornerstone to many mental illnesses, is one such concern that we provide effective and appropriate care for in many of our programs. Characterized by distressing and intrusive thoughts about ending one’s own life, the presence of suicidal ideations often infers that an individual is grappling with a mental illness or illnesses. Children and adolescents who come to Desert Hills for care can ultimately find relief from these distressing and debilitating thoughts and develop coping skills so that ideations of suicide will eventually dissipate as they navigate the therapeutic process. If your child is suffering from such concerning symptoms, Desert Hills can be where healing begins.
Located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Desert Hills provides a continuum of behavioral health services ranging from sub-acute residential treatment to community-based programs for children, adolescents, and their families. Since opening in 1990, Desert Hills has grown from a small residential program to the largest continuum of behavioral health services for the state of New Mexico, with three different locations where individuals can access services. In order to ensure we provide the highest quality of care possible while meeting all of our patients unique needs, we provide ongoing training and supervision of all staff members, making sure they are up-to-date on the latest evidence-based treatment modalities. Because we are able to offer each child and adolescent customized and personal care, we can address the specific problems that suicidal ideations have caused in your child’s life. We are dedicated to changing lives, one child at a time.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
It is often difficult for parents and caregivers to know if their child is suffering from ideations of suicide. Because these thought processes occur in the minds of sufferers, the presence of suicidal ideations typically only become apparent when they are conveyed verbally or behaviorally. The following verbal indicators and behaviors suggest that a young person is having thoughts about ending his or her own life:
- Communicating thoughts or ideas about death, including how they would want to die, questioning how others would react or what they would do if he or she was no longer alive
- Giving away personal belongings
- Engaging in self-harming behaviors, such as cutting, burning, etc.
- Displaying a depressed or overtly anxious mood that is not characteristic of the individual
Oftentimes, those that are battling suicidal ideations are struggling with symptoms of a mental health condition or conditions. The following mental illnesses can include thoughts about suicide:
- Depressive disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
If the aforementioned symptoms are observable in your child, it is necessary that you seek guidance from a mental health professional as soon as possible. Ongoing ideations of suicide can eventually lead to an attempt or even death. By seeking assistance from a mental health professional, you can receive valuable information about treatment options that can care for any existing mental health disorder and ultimately save the life of your child.
Why Consider Treatment at Desert Hills
Sadly, many children and adolescents suffer in silence if they are thinking about or contemplating suicide. In many cases, young people may feel hopeless or helpless when thinking about their futures and resort to developing plans for ending their own lives. When this type of thinking persists without treatment, some youth put their plans into action and attempt to take their own lives, a scenario that is devastating to family members and loved ones. Fortunately, there are options for care that can address these thoughts and allow young people who suffer from suicidal ideations the ability to regain hope for the future and learn new skills for managing stress.
When a youth suffers from suicidal ideations over along period of time, it is often necessary that more intensive treatment be sought and implemented. More intensive care, of which can be accessed in a residential treatment setting, can be extremely beneficial for young people with these thoughts as it affords them with ongoing support and care so that they no longer have to suffer in silence. Qualified mental health professionals are on hand 24 hours a day in this type of treatment and have the ability to offer guidance and support at a moments notice. Additionally, because suicidal ideations signify the presence of a mental health condition or conditions, any existing mental illnesses can be identified and treated through various therapeutic interventions offered in residential treatment. Meetings with psychiatrists can also take place in residential care so that it can be determined if medication can alleviate symptoms of such mental illnesses. For many children and adolescents, residential treatment is the best option for care that can fully address the causes and treat ideations of suicide.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
At Desert Hills, we believe that treatment should be strengths-based and should be centered solely on clients and their families. We train, facility wide, on the Nurtured Heart Approach in order to provide all of our clients and their families with inner wealth and opportunities to grow. It is our mission to provide high quality, comprehensive behavior and mental health services to children, adolescents, and their families. Treatment is provided through a continuum of care, ranging from sub-acute residential treatment to community-based programs. All of our services are individualized, culturally sensitive, and centered on clients and their parents/guardians. The clinical emphasis is placed on assessment, treatment planning, discharge, and aftercare planning. The goal is to prepare clients for a successful future at home, at school, and within the community.
Types of Treatment Offered at Desert Hills
Here at Desert Hills, we have 10 distinct units, each of which features programming that is designed specifically to address the needs of various populations. Each unit follows a chief modality throughout their programming, which coincides with the needs of the patients on that particular unit. Desert Hills strives to use evidence-based treatment modalities on every unit to ensure that patients and their families have the highest likelihood of obtaining long-term, successful outcomes. Described in more detail below are some of the services that Desert Hills provides for our patients:
Medication management: Medication management is provided for all patients throughout each one of our treatment programs. This is done to ensure that each patient is getting all of his or her medication needs taken care of, while being properly monitored to ensure the therapeutic effectiveness of all medications.
Individual therapy: On each unit, patients have at least one individual session per week. These sessions are meant to be a time where patients can meet with a therapist in a safe setting to process their innermost thoughts and feelings and work towards developing coping skills that will serve them for a lifetime.
Group therapy: Here at Desert Hills, all of our patients attend group therapy three times per week. These group sessions offer children and adolescents the opportunity to connect with others who are going through similar experiences. Some of the topics that are covered in these groups, depending on the specific program a patient is taking part in, include interpersonal effectiveness, conflict resolution, anger management, stress management, and correcting and replacing thinking errors. For those patients who are also struggling with substance abuse concerns, psycho-educational groups are held regarding the effect of substance abuse on the body, brain, and overall functioning.
Family therapy: Since family involvement is important to the overall success of recovery, we hold at least one family therapy session per week for each patient. Family therapy focuses on guiding and facilitating an open dialogue, as well as educating parents, caregivers, and other family members on the intervention skills used in treatment. The process of doing so will help ensure the patient’s success long after discharge.
Educational services: Continued education while at Desert Hills is a very important part of the treatment program. The school provides our patients with a positive, safe, and individualized place to learn and grow. All teachers communicate weekly with the treatment team, assuring consistency in the individual goals set for each student.
Additional services that are available depending upon specific patient needs include:
- Bilingual mobile assessments
- Peer council
- Canine therapy
- High and low ropes courses
- Music therapy
- Red rocks
- Services for deaf and hard of hearing patients (administered by deaf therapists and other mental health technicians that are trained in American Sign Language)
- Art therapy
- Play therapy
- Equine assisted therapy
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
All patients from our residential treatment center have the opportunity to step down to one of our many outpatient care options, of which include the following:
Clinical day treatment program: This program allows patients to live at home, while also addressing any behavioral or academic issues they may have. These services are provided on a year round basis for children and adolescents who are middle school through high school aged. There are both regular and special education services available, allowing students to earn summer credits and catch up if they have fallen behind academically. Additional services include group therapy and a variety of experiential therapies.
Group homes: Designed to provide patients who are between the ages of 16 and 21 who are in need of a structured home-based living situation, our group home services are available to provide services that are focused on psychosocial skills development and functioning in the community.
Treatment foster care: This program is licensed and certified by the New Mexico Children, Youth, and Families Department to license, train, and support treatment foster parents and treat children between the ages of 4 and 18 who are placed in their homes. TCF provides around-the-clock clinical supervisions, on-call therapy, and case management services.
Whatever your child’s continuing needs may be, Desert Hills provides a wide range of services that will be able to address any and all of those specific needs. We will do everything in our power to help your child overcome his or her trauma and learn to see the world as a safe place once again.