EP 05: A Counselor’s Findings on Suicide: Tessa Stuckey, LPC

On the show today we welcome therapist Tessa Stuckey who shares some of her insight into and experience with adolescents who are suffering from suicidal ideation. Teen suicide must be a parent’s worst nightmare, and Tessa talks to us about her support group for girls, the importance of talking about struggles, getting much-needed support from peers, and some of the rules and practices she has implemented in this setting. What Tessa learned in counseling these youths is that they often don’t display the typical signs of people who are thinking about suicide. Wanting to understand what is causing the rapid increase in depression and anxiety in young people, Tessa began looking into the cultural factors that could be contributing to the large-scale problem. In her upcoming book, she details six major societal culprits, also touching briefly on each in our discussion today. Listeners will also be advised on adopting a healthy perspective on life and pain, having realistic expectations on teenagers, the mindsets to avoid as a parent, and teaching kids how to practice self-care. Tessa also talks briefly about the work she does outside of counseling teens, including helping couples, individuals, and parents.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Why Tessa started her Team Girl support group and how it’s different from others.
  • The powerful effect of getting support from peers who have experienced similar things.
  • The importance of maintaining absolute confidentiality in such a setting.
  • How Tessa’s journey with the group inspired her to write a book.
  • Learning that most group members did not display the typical signs of suicidal ideation.
  • Studying what about our society causes teen suicides to have skyrocketed in the last decade.
  • A personal story about dealing with a friend’s suicidal tendencies in high school.
  • The need for parents to pay more attention to their children’s mental wellbeing.
  • How emotional turmoil can be like a hurricane and the importance of being prepared.
  • Keeping in mind that life is not easy and fair and that it’s hard for everybody.
  • The problem of parents expecting teenagers to think and act like adults.
  • How the media sometimes romanticizes suicide and portrays it as something heroic.
  • Suicide as an attention-seeking strategy and our inherent desire to be important and valued.
  • The lack of personal connections and the growing social anxiety among teens.
  • The biggest cultural problem – immediate gratification.
  • Cyberbullying, comparing, and other dangers of social media.
  • How the pressure for perfection and performance impact adolescents’ mental health.
  • Growing up with two parents who are both therapists and how she ended up in the same role.
  • Not parenting out of fear and other great advice from her years of counseling experience.
  • Teaching kids to self-care and how to make themselves feel better.
  • How her teenage clients help her to become more aware and self-aware.
  • Her work with couples, premarital counseling, and adult male individuals.

Tweetables:

“I believe that if we put those ‘coping skills’ or self-care options into play more routinely, then when things get tough, it’s easier to handle and to cope with emotionally.” — @TessaStuckey [0:18:17]

“People have this idea that life is supposed to be easy or fair and it’s not. Life is hard.” — @TessaStuckey [0:19:16] 

“We live in a very victimized culture right now.” — @TessaStuckey [0:27:30]

 

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