Itongadol.- Next month, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) will be presenting its annual Research Award to two researchers, Professor Gary Diamond of Ben Gurion University and his colleague Professor Guy Diamond (no relation) of Drexel University in the US, for their work treating potentially suicidal conditions in adolescent youth.
The treatment model, known as Attachment-Based Family Therapy (ABFT) is the culmination of nearly 15 years of collaboration between the two professors and asserts that family therapy is more effective than standard one-on-one treatments for suicidal youths. The team examined the effects of family therapy on the level of suicidal symptoms in adolescents struggling with anger, substance abuse, depression, and suicide.
“There is a lot of research that says parental support, criticism, acceptance, and rejection are all associated with adolescent depression and suicide ideation (thoughts about suicide),” Gary Diamond tells NoCamels. “The goal of the model is to transform the parent-adolescent relationship so that kids feel better about their relationship, and in turn, themselves.”
“I think that no matter what is going on that is fueling the depression, it is a bit easier when you feel that you have the support and loving care of your parents,” continues Diamond.
According to Diamond, the parent-adolescent relationship has undeniable effects on an adolescent’s state of mental health. When parents and children have a poor relationship, it spurs critical and disapproving attitudes at home, potentially making a child feel bad about his or herself, increasing their degree of self-criticality and dramatically lowering their self-esteem. These feelings alone are risk factors for both depression and suicide., according to the researchers. Outside of the home, if a kid is bullied at school or on the playground, the absence of parental support can further exacerbate depression and suicidal thoughts, they add.