2010 Shows

Teenagers today are more stressed than ever before — from the pressure to get into college to helping with family finances — and many find themselves at the breaking point. The alarming rise in the number of teens taking their own lives is leaving parents desperate for answers. Could you be missing cues that your child is in trouble? Dr. Phil gives you the warning signs and explains what you can do to help a teen on the brink. Then, actor and best-selling author Hill Harper has a candid conversation with a group of young adults who feel pushed to the brink. And, Dr. Phil features the documentary Race to Nowhere, which examines the pressure many teens feel to succeed.  It's an important Dr. Phil you won't want to miss!

Find out what happened on the show.
Replied By: grievingexwife on Jul 25, 2010, 6:37AM
I just found  this while surfing through Dr.Phil.com, Please let Hill Harper know I worked with his father Dr.Harper @ a mental health clinic in Galt & Sacramento.Staff and patietns continue to talk about the wonderful psychiatrist Dr.Harper was. We think of him frequently.The clinics his dad worked at are in danger of closing due to County budget problems. Please let say Hello to Hill Harper from all of us at Visions Unlimited.
Replied By: theredmarker on Jul 25, 2010, 6:04AM
I'm 20 years old, and since the beginning of high school, suicide has been a HUGE part of my life. I love people and am a good listener, so maybe that's why people who are hurting like to come to me. I don't know. Either way, several people have come to me speaking of wanting to kill themselves. They claim I've helped them (really, all I can say is that "pain has its season and it too will pass" and offer suggestions to make things better for themselves), but it's been really taxing on me, too.
I had a bout with depression in grades 10 and 11 after my best friend moved away. Suicide was literally a constant thought. It was never attempted (mostly because I was too much of a chicken) but the thoughts were hurtful and heavy. My neighbour jumped off the city bridge, ending his life, during this time, and my good friend, who was his brother, was just a mess. My (new) best friend at the time also had these thoughts, and I think it was because of each other that we made it through. But then, soon after, someone from our graduating class, who was the happiest (yet impulsive...) person around, suddenly hung himself. The school was brought to its knees. The graduating class was crippled by this for weeks. It was heart-breaking.
Now, another of my best friends talks about it. I don't mind helping him out and I'm always willing to listen, but it's just so...exhausting sometimes. It takes a heavy toll on my emotional energy. Of course, I have things to do that give me a lot of my energy back, like creative pursuits and books, but even so, very tiring indeed.
So, suicide is a very prominent part of my life, and, you know, in pursuing a career in psychology, I imagine it always will be. That saddens me, but if I must then I must, I suppose.

...Not really sure what the point I was trying to make was. I guess I was just sharing my experiences with you guys. Anyway, if you've never been touched by suicide, consider yourself lucky. Nothing, and I do mean NOTHING, is more painful or more heartbreaking than knowing your loved ones are so WRETCHED that they'd take their OWN life.
Replied By: leahburgman76 on Mar 21, 2010, 10:35PM - In reply to noedvendig
Wanted to say well said......are you a victim of suicide??
Replied By: leahburgman76 on Mar 21, 2010, 10:34PM
Hi, my name is Leah and I am now 28 years old.....but when I was just 13, my older brother killed himself, and no one saw any warning signs!! The only REAL warning I can look back at and see NOW, are the "wrecklessness" and the "mood swings.. Dr. Phil talks about." And that no matter what ages we both were, my brother always did sort of "wear his heart on  his sleeve."  You always knew when or if he was upset. And not nessacarily anger as emotionally upset.

He was nearly 5 years older than I and he was great at EVERYTHING. He was a straight A student, mastered the piano at a single digit age, enrolled in all honors classes and AP classes once he reached High School...even became fluent in Spanish and was learning Portugese when he died. He was extremely smart, just not brave enough for  what this world throws at us!

It was December 1994....the day after Christmas, although to us it was just another day, because we were raised as Jehovah's Witnesses' and didn't celebrate Christmas At any rate, it was the 26th of December, a Monday night. We (My parents, myself, and my paternal Grandparents who were in town) had all gone to bible study that evening and arrived home to a disaster......

We had a 3 car garage and had taken my Grandparents' car to Church. My brother had all 3 of the cars running when we discovered him.

We could not revive him...the Fire Department would later tell us that the Carbon Minoxide levels INSIDE our home of almost 4000 sq ft, were so high that we wouldn't be able to return to it for at least 3 days and nights!!

There was no way  to tell when he took his life, over the approx. 3 hours that we were gone, because Carbon Minoxide keeps your blood warm. So we have no idea if we could have saved him or not...

But there are many hings that have kept me going over all this time:

First, that everything happens for a reason...I was meant to find him and his note that night, etc. He was meant to live a shorter life than most....I may never know why, but God does...that's what keeps me sane.

Second, I believe that if someone wants to  truly & really kill themselves, they aren't going to warn you!!! They are going  to do it!! Because if they warn you, they are calling out for help...if they just do it, they aren't asking anyone for any assistance, they just want out!

I would have to say that the majority of people that even attempt suicide are doing it as a cry, a plea, for help. But I cannot agree that my brother was asking for help. I really think he just wanted to stop his internal suffering. That simple.

Yes, it's hard, but I know he is still here in spirit and that he is no longer suffering......

Replied By: noedvendig on Mar 19, 2010, 10:43AM - In reply to metalman_too
To Metalman:

You are very accurate. The book you mention is one of the ones on my bookshelf, which I consider fundamental.

Lately, I have also become impressed with the work of Eckhardt Tolle, whom I think has done a remarkable job of setting up what he calls signposts in the direction of enlightenment, really ideas to how one can find one’s deeper consciousness and become more present in the present, rather than stuck somewhere else, in the past or the future.

This is one of the natural gifts of children as I see it: Their ability to be intensely present and focused, and which we are so thoughtlessly ripping apart with our obsession with schedules. I know people in my life, who were grossly under the heels of other people’s schedules and preferences, and who even today, as not-so-young adults, rebel against all schedules sometimes to the detriment of their livelihood. Had they been given space, I believe they would pragmatically and voluntarily have picked up the practicality of scheduling stuff so you know to meet in one place and work together; it is the early maltreatment that ruins it for them, and in turn have them ruin it for themselves.

The ‘respect’ was used out of habit, and perhaps for lack of a better word in the moment. I recognize respect as something you do not have entitlement to just because you exist, but I would say the parent-child relationship is an exception. We start out owing the child consideration or accommodation if you will, for we caused him to be born through an act of our will. So you could say that dissing the child is ultimately showing disrespect for our own choice and the result of our own action, which is truly perverse.

In addition, I believe that showing others a modicum of respect or, at
Least, consideration will be subject to the magical threefold return. It is of the same nature as the three small loaves of bread and the five little fishes: If we give it, there will be enough to go around, and more. But certainly, I do not mean the children should not be taught a set of values and that living up to them, or not, has consequences. I just don’t see the child vis a vis the parents as a supplicant that must first earn his place and starts out with nothing. My sense is that we already put something in his account, when we conceived him, allowed him to be carried to term and be born.
Replied By: metalman_too on Mar 15, 2010, 10:11AM - In reply to noedvendig
Your post brings up interesting points with the inclusion of common sense. A favorite author of mine, Erich Fromm, has written many books but the one that comes to mind most of all is. "To Have or To be." I took the main theme of this book to be that the industrial revolution created a new god and in order to keep this god in existence people must be kept in a 'To Have'  type of thinking while the real purpose of life is 'To Be' in it. Simply put our minds are constantly focusing on having life turn into what will profit our society while simple basics that would move humans 'To Be' in life got side lined. Being in life is sharing life. In order to share life means individuals have to become something to share by developing the simple basics like self-esteem, self-love and self-confidence.

I also include that I picked up on the word respect in your post. I sort think that also fits in with 'To Have or To Be' It doesn't take much to see the demand for having others to 'respect' us but  'respect' is something we earn from others. I see it as children would be better off if parents woke up to teaching their children how to earn respect rather than expecting others to respect them. Trust is the same way. It's earned from others but without trust and respect like the way we live now all any human being can do is protect and defend themselves constantly. That is the main reason suicides grow more rapidly than getting along with one another does. People of all ages can find so little to trust and respect where they could feel secure with sharing their life's together that they lose hope in even trying.

Maybe it's just me that sees this as simple with human beings finding a way to complicate it.
Replied By: noedvendig on Mar 14, 2010, 2:34PM
What I found lacking in the show, and still find lacking in the discussion, is the question of where the whole enterprise of growing up and being a strong and whole person, where that process runs off the rails, so one ends up in that dark corner, with one’s back against the wall, thinking seriously of doing oneself in.

I am a parent of three children who are now adults, and their father and I from the outset allowed them room for doing their own learning. Children do not have any problem with motivation. They are curious, tireless, and incredibly resourceful and resilient in their attempt at mastering all the stuff we can do and they are trying to learn.

The long, bitter struggle began when they hit school. I could not believe the extent to which they were steered, held back, prescribed everything they had to do, and all the politics and personal stuff of teachers there had to be room for, the superficiality and petty favoritism, sometimes with racial overtones, and just plain sloppiness. One teacher slipped and named it ‘absence of structure’. It was completely demoralizing. We considered taking our kids out and do our own teaching. In retrospect, we should have. But we fell for the danger-of-not-becoming-socialized scare. Moreover, the whole vista only slowly became known to us, for the first three years in school, it was emphasized that we would get only anecdotal reports, and the teachers would not discuss picky details of the child’s progress, in order, we understood, to protect their fragile early learning from ‘pushy, managing’ parents. Of course we know now that it was to protect the teachers themselves from our insight, which would have made us rescue our kids while there was time.

We have three very bright children, whereof only one graduated from high school, just dragging his tail through. They have no trouble handling themselves practically. They can all read and learn on at least 2nd year university level. None of this is due to successful teaching in school, but is entirely their own accomplishment and a result of their own drive, which the school did not manage to destroy, only to lay hindrances for. They have a wide variety of solid skills for living and lots of skills to contribute, but are still struggling to find ways of making them marketable. Consequently, they do work which only requires grade ten and common sense. We constantly hear how exceptionally good workers they are, how well they handle themselves, and one of them has been offered management training repeatedly, but is suspicious of the enterprise. Our daughter calls their school experience being processed rather than educated, and she is no whiner, but a relentless truth seeker. I am convinced North America has hundreds of thousands of such young people. Wal-Mart and cohorts profit greatly from their presence in the picture. At minimum wage, they are a fabulous bargain!

The school is not alone in doing this. We as a society show our children no respect. We manage and dictate and shape who and what they are from day one. We decide how much pain we will allow their arrival to cause us, so most children are brought into the world through a birth canal numbed by epidural block. This isn’t isolated, but part of a pattern. kids are made to comply with our needs in the way of comfort zone. We coax a smile; we pat-a-cake; we insist on the ‘appropriate’ responses, and we take away their own sense of discovery. Rather than responding to them, we demand they learn to answer to us. My daughter tells me to my horror, that there are devices available to put your children into to ‘aid’ their learning how to walk. They don’t need any aid! Wild horses couldn’t prevent them from learning to walk, or to talk, or to try to do all the things they see us doing. Now of course there is a problem. Some children don’t see their parents do a lot. Think for instance of the whole stupid cult around ‘toilet training’! Does it ever occur to anyone that show and tell might work, if one is not too prissy to practice it? Children learn best of all by example. Voila! Instead, because we are such lame non-performers, not very sharing and often doing all our work by paper-pushing in some distant office, we have to devise artificial situations of learning, usually at great cost, and so the children must comply with the schedule we set, even if that day or that moment they feel preoccupied with something else and have a great need to address whatever that is.

This continued process of disallowing their sense of who they are and what they can do to evolve unhindered will ultimately send the message that what they feel or need or believe doesn’t count, and that we don’t consider them capable of meeting any aspect of life on their own. It is estimated that children receive seven negative messages for every positive one through their early years. We raise them to the tune of ‘cannot’ ‘must not’ ‘not that way’. Often they would have reached such conclusions themselves, but we fail to understand the vital importance of them doing the reaching, not having it done for them. On the other hand we often subject them to the shocks of our own caprices: We overspend, we drink, we screw up our relationships, and somehow, miraculously, these ‘numbskulls’ we thought could not handle a normal pair of scissors are now having to absorb the devastation this wreaks on their lives. Go figure!

Until we throw out all the notions we now hold about teaching, maybe also most of the teachers, and completely revamp our schooling, until we understand that we cannot while being parents, be as hedonistic and childish as we are now, or expect our children to grow and thrive on the arbitrary leftovers of lebensraum we deign to throw them, until we show them some damned respect, they will not do better or be able to stand up to the pressures life will present them with.
Replied By: fjamesc on Mar 14, 2010, 1:16PM
I'm the editor of Suicide Prevention News and Comment, and I've been watching the news stories about the teen suicides referred to in this episode of Dr. Phil, so I was anxious about how the topic was going to be covered (because of the causal relationship between media coverage and suicide contagion). For my view of how it turned out, please see the post today "Community, Prevention Experts Influence 'Dr. Phil' Episode," which concludes,
The process that shaped the show’s content could be an indication that community-focused suicide prevention is gaining traction in America ... I believe it is extremely important to affirm that this instance of the media’s coverage of suicide represents a rare collaboration among people working to cover an important news story, people in the field of suicide prevention, and people in a community that has been directly affected (I might say traumatized) by recent suicides.
Replied By: fatman911 on Mar 14, 2010, 8:58AM - In reply to nobluorg
I don't know, I afraid that I would agree that there is no reason to live, I question it everyday I get up, I think that I would have to fix my own attitude with living before I could help others, this whole subject left me depressed for the last few days, which I still haven't shaken, but thanks for the comment
Replied By: metalman_too on Mar 13, 2010, 10:39PM
Have you ever heard a mother cry,

when to her child came the final "Good-Bye."

Words that could send thoughts a reeling,

attacking most minds of what one's feeling.

Bringing into light an undesirable subject as this,

removes many thoughts from a comfortable bliss.

Suicide, the chosen choice to end one's life,

always leaves those left behind all kinds of strife.

Difficulty copping with life's journey brings lots of sorrows,

that always are carried over for others facing their tomorrows.

Is it sympathy we humans really seek,

moving majority's opinions to thoughtlessly weak?

Pride of parents turns to shame,

they carry forever senseless blame.

If only we woke sooner to offering hope,

sharing an option much better than dope.

And so our minds exist in ignorance,

unwilling to fearlessly offer tolerance.

This cycle goes on forever and ever,

purpose of life enters in being never.

Society knows not a way for these deaths to abate,

leaving hopeless humans making the number just escalate.




My daughter who ended her life was a writer so I made efforts to write to enter her world rather than demand she enter mine. This is one such attempt.

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