Teen Suicide Prevention

Being a parent is a commitment that is as much a full-time job as any career. With responsibilities that every parent has to keep their child physically safe from the world and emotionally feeling as loved as they truly are, it is no wonder that some parents think they have fallen short of these goals.

As children become teenagers, it is even harder for a parent to understand their emotional needs. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says that suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens ages 15-17 and the third leading cause for children ages 10-14.

The statistics can be terrifying, but there are clear warning signs that can lead to teen suicide that every parent can look for to help prevent their child from turning into a statistic. They include the following:

Exaggerated Rage

If your child reacts to everyday frustrations with over-the-top tantrums or rage that could endanger them or someone else, this stems from underlying problems that are unresolved and they do not know how to handle on their own. It could also be a sign of some type of abuse that they are trying to hide.

Lack of Interest in Eating

Symptoms of ongoing depression will manifest in this type of behavior which shows a lack of caring for a child or teen’s part for even the most basic need to be healthy. It also may be a sign your child is a victim of bullying at school for appearance issues which may lead to a severe breakdown of self-esteem and self-loathing.

An overabundance of Sleeping or No Sleep at All

If your child or teen seems to be sleeping far more than 8-10 hours a day, then they are dwindling away their days in bed possibly because they don’t want to deal with something that is going on in their life. Staying awake around the clock is a similar issue. Sleep issues are a sign that someone is troubled about something and does not know how to fix it or get it off their mind.

Giving Personal Items Away or Throwing Them Out

If you observe that your child’s most precious possessions, large or small, seem to be disappearing from their room, it may be a sign that they are giving their valuable items to friends and family that they care about as a remembrance of them after they are gone.  Clearing out entire drawers of things, giving away trophies or even making random picture books of treasured moments to give to people who are close to them.

Self-Harming

If you notice that your child is walking around with long sleeves or pants in the middle of the summer or not allowing you to see their bare arms or legs, it could be a sign that they are inflicting wounds on themselves.

Finding Help

Diamond Ranch Academy (DRA) and its highly-trained staff can help parents to circumvent through these issues before they alter a child’s life. Each of the treatment programs offered at DRA is designed to give teens the means by which they can work through their problems in a controlled environment and feel safe. The mission of DRA is to develop and nurture self-confidence in every child and teen to understand how to cope with life’s more difficult situations without resorting to drastic measures. DRA’s programs include family and parental discussions between DRA’s professional staffer in The Real Life Transition Program that allows every teen to work through real-life situations and discover healthy tools for solving problems on their own.

Learn more about Diamond Ranch Academy – Utah’s premier residential treatment center for teens.

Diamond Ranch Academy Boys Programs

Boys who are part of the Diamond Ranch Academy (DRA) residential treatment program will participate in therapy programs that are designed to suit their individualized needs. The core belief of DRA is that each teen who is working through trying to adapt to difficult life circumstances, teaching them to educate themselves on how to best deal with life issues that arise is the foundation of the DRA specialized programs. These programs include co-educational programs in life-skills, the performing arts, and vocational skills training. These programs that cater to both male and female teens in the program all focus on developing each teen’s understanding of their personal strengths, abilities, and interests.

There are discussions on career goals, study skills, and how to be most effective in pursuing a career through job interviewing techniques, workplace skills, and exploring a career that will meet their long-term goals in life. One special program called horsemanship gives each teen an opportunity to develop an emotional stake in caring for someone else. This type of therapy gives them an opportunity to develop relationship skills that can be implemented in their relationships that they develop with other individuals throughout their life.

The DRA program also includes field trips that give boys the opportunity for some hands-on learning in environments that give them a real-world perspective on what they are considering pursuing as a vocation as they enter into a trade school or university environment.

There are also dedicated boys’ programs at DRA. One such program is athletics where Diamond Ranch Academy takes pride in having developed one of the most comprehensive sports programs of any residential school in the state of Utah having been fully approved by the Utah High School Activities Association in 2011. Each boy who participates in sports that are offered has coaches that are dedicated to encouraging each athlete for the purpose of building their confidence and in teaching them to have a personal stake in their own goals.

This also includes a focus on understanding the importance of being a team player that reflects the value of respect for others that needs to be developed throughout the teen’s lifetime.
Some of the sports that are available for teens to participate in are the following:

Baseball

The games at DRA are played at the Diamond Ranch Academy’s 55-acre grounds at a state-of-the-art all-turf baseball field called Venom Park that boasts its own batting cages and turf pitcher’s mound. It also has a baseball-stadium sized logo touting the Diamond Ranch Diamondbacks as the home team.

Basketball

As the 2016 1A Utah state champions, the DRA boys’ basketball program is proud to offer not only a championship program that has been consistent in making the top five in its region, but it is also a team that is known for its optimal teamwork. The games take place at the DRA campus in a basketball arena known as The Snake Pit that has an original 3-D logo artfully displayed complements of DRA’s own Art Department.

Soccer

The goal of the soccer program for boys is to physically develop the skills of coordination coupled with speed and agility. As the coaches focus on these skills, they are also helping each boy to build physical as well as mental strength and endurance. Each home game, as well as all practices, take place on a dedicated all-turf field on the Diamond Ranch Academy site which displays a DRA Diamondback team logo that spans the length of the field.

Golf

All golf practices and tournaments for boys takes place approximately two miles from the DRA site at the Sand Hollow Golf Course. This is a course that has been consistently rated #1 in Utah and nationally in the top 50. Each of the DRA golf team coaches has received training from a PGA certified professional.

City League/Intramural Sports

For teens who are not yet ready to join a dedicated DRA team, there is an opportunity to engage in intramural sports on city leagues as well as participation in individual sports. This includes joining a football team that plays every Friday evening in a stadium venue within the region.

Girls’ Programs at Diamond Ranch Academy

Girls who come to the Diamond Ranch Academy (DRA) and participate in the residential treatment program have the opportunity to be a part of programs that will be designed for their personal needs. The foundation of the beliefs at DRA is that every teen who resides with us is counting on the DRA program to help them to understand how to work through challenges that are presented to them in their daily life. This is done through educational as well as therapeutic programs that align them with life skills to deal with life issues as they happen in the best way possible.

The DRA educational structure has co-educational programs in areas such as career and life skills, performing arts, and vocational training. All of these programs are designed with several goals in mind which are to help teens to develop their personal strengths, skill sets, and interests.

Every program includes at some point a discussion on career interests and goals and developing effective study skills and habits. The end result for each teen will be taking what they learned and confidently apply it in their chosen work environment, educational setting, and in social circumstances throughout their life. One particular program called Horsemanship gives each teen who participates in this therapy program the opportunity to be responsible for the well being of someone other than themselves. It also gives them skills in relationship-building that they can carry over into their social relationships with others.

The Diamond Ranch Academy also offers girls an opportunity to explore life on a first-hand basis with a variety of field trips that allow them to explore specific vocations and life experiences in the real world as opposed to just discussing it in a classroom or therapy session.

Additionally, there are dedicated girls’ programs offered at Diamond Ranch Academy. The girls’ athletic program at DRA is very proud to offer sports that as a whole have been recognized and approved in Utah by the High School Activities Association in 2011. This means that there are opportunities for any teen who participates in these state-sanctioned sports to be considered for a college scholarship.

The girls’ athletic programs offer a variety of sports that will allow each teen to experience healthy peer interaction with other girls in an environment of their choosing whether it is in a larger team setting something on a smaller scale that suits their social comfort zone. All of this will give them the much-needed practice in relationship-building as well as confidence-building regarding their own personal strengths.

The coaches are trained in recognizing each teen’s level of comfort in participation and how to develop self-confidence in each girl leading to a deeper level of trust and enlarging the scope of their social circle through a team-player mentality that they can utilize throughout their lifetime. This includes an understanding of mutual respect that each coach impresses upon the girls that helps them to understand the value of respect for others and how that reflects on their own personal level of respect.

The dedicated girls’ athletic programs are as follows:

Soccer

The team practices and participates in home games on a dedicated soccer field on the DRA campus that boasts a Diamond Ranch Diamondback logo that spans the full length of the all-turf soccer field. Each player competes at their own pace and at their own skill level.

Cheerleading and Dance

Girls at DRA can participate on dance teams as well as a small cheerleading squad. The goal of the coaches for these teams is to promote the importance of team participation and trust in your fellow team members. Each member is encouraged to respect and encourage their teammates no matter what level of skill they bring to the team.

Volleyball

The Lady Diamondbacks team at DRA participates in practices and games in The Snake Pit where the boys also take part in basketball games. This gym is considered the “loudest gym in Utah” by several regional sports radio announcers and sports sites online. They are proud to say that they have consistently made the regional finals and state tournament finals for the state championship.

Golf

Approximately two miles from the DRA campus is where you will find the Sand Hollow Golf Course where the Diamond Ranch Academy golf teams for both the boys and girls practice and compete. They are coached by PGA professionals and participate in regional golf tournaments.

Track Club

This is called a club for girls at DRA, but there is also an opportunity for competing in track as each club session has a track coach who monitors activity, makes suggestions for improvement and organizes a friendly competition among the girls who participate.

Zumba

For any girls who want to just challenge themselves, Zumba is a perfect alternative to a team sport that not only helps teens who participate to stay in shape, but it is an energy booster and healthy way to let off some steam.

City League/Intramural Sports

This is an alternative for girls who are not as comfortable with their level of physical skill and agility. The city league offers both individual sports as well as team sports that include football. All of these sports promote active participation no matter what gender, physical ability, or age the teen may be.

Diamond Ranch Academy Athletic Programs

Athletics have long been deemed by professionals to be an important part of becoming a more well-rounded person; learning new skills, learning to be a team player, and building self-esteem through participation in athletics all contribute to becoming a better person. Diamond Ranch Academy encourages all students to take part in athletic events, regardless of a student’s skill level. Both individual and team sports are available for boys and girls, with certified, qualified coaches and athletic personnel overseeing all training and events. Life-long friendships are often forged through sports participation. Many Diamond Ranch Academy students go on to institutes of higher learning with athletic scholarships earned at the Academy.

The D-Back Fitness Center is well equipped with all the exercise machinery necessary to get and stay in shape.

For skaters, Rattleskate Park is a top-notch skating facility for all levels of skate boarding. Fun and safety go hand in hand as skaters learn new skills.

Nearby Sand Hollow Golf Course is a beautiful 18-hole championship course containing many challenges for novice golfers. Ranked #1 in Utah and #47 in the nation, both girls and boys are taught by a PGA apprentice, along with an assistant Pro instructor, on learning the game and honing their skills.

Equine assisted therapy has been proven to be valuable to certain students who need a more one-on-one boost to their self-esteem.

Regardless of a student’s athletic interests, there is a team for it! Baseball, basketball, football, soccer, and even wrestling teams are available. All of the athletic programs at Diamond Ranch Academy are sanctioned and competitive, playing in city leagues and beyond.

Diamond Ranch Academy is proud of its football team, who went undefeated in 2015 and earned the title of State Champions.

As well, the basketball team earned the 2016 1-A title of State Champion and consistently finish the season in the top 5 in Region 20. Post-season play is common. The ‘Snake Pit’ was voted the loudest gym in Utah as spectators cheered the team on to numerous victories.

Baseball is played at Venom Park, a state-of-the-art field complete with batting cages and the best all-turf infield and outfield anywhere around. Here, as with all team sports, leadership skills are learned along with the importance of playing together as a team.

The Diamondback Wrestling Team is active in tournaments against area high schools.

Girls, just like the males, are encouraged to check into and join one or more of the exciting athletic opportunities available to them:

Cheerleading and dance teams appear at all games, cheering on the home team, while Zumba classes get the blood pumping and help keep students in shape. Beginning skill levels aren’t important, striving to improve is.

Soccer and track are both popular sports, teaching both individual courage and team cooperation. Girls learn to cooperate, play by the rules, and build the self-esteem of other team members.

In its initial year, the girls volleyball team made an impression by appearing at the State Tournament and making it all the way into round three. Working together to build team spirit will take them far.

Boys Academic Programs at Diamond Ranch Academy

The Diamond Ranch Academy (DRA) takes a personalized approach to each teen who participates in one of the six comprehensive treatment programs that are offered at DRA on its 55-acre campus. The customization of each program allows for specialized attention to each teen while giving them access to all the resources they need to accomplish the goals that have been set for them.

Each of the academic programs are accredited through AdvancED which is a non-profit educational organization representing three of the primary pre-college regional accreditation groups that include the Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA CASI), the Council on Accreditation and School Improvement of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC) in concert with the Utah State Office of Education. This recognition ensures that each teen can earn academic credits leading to a high school diploma as well as transfer to any school in the U.S. including the majority of colleges and universities.
In order to give each teen tools they need to accomplish their goals, DRA structures each program to give access to the resources that will help them. These resources include the following:

• College Readiness Skills
• Assessment of Career Goals and Skills
• ACT Testing
• SAT Testing
• PSAT Testing
• ASVAB Testing
• Choosing and Applying to Colleges and Universities (including scholarship applications)
• Secondary School Transitioning
• Availability of College Courses (for students who have already graduated from a secondary school)
• Field Trips (for real-life experiences including career scenarios)
• Hands-on experience in vocational fields

Because teens develop at stages depending on their age and have gender-specific developmental needs, there are also programs dedicated to boys that are structured for different ages:

Stone Ridge (for boys ages 14-15)

With a focus on the individual aspects of a teen’s developmental growth, this academic program is unique in its approach. The activities aim to teach teens to understand that they are responsible for the choices they make and how to cope with the consequences of their actions. The faculty is specially trained to work with each teen to circumvent through the process. Each teen also has an opportunity to bond with other boys that are experiencing the same accountability issues as them and know that they are not alone in their struggle.
Academically, the Stone Ridge program allows each teen to develop at their own pace with certified teachers who set up a mastery-based learning structure that won’t allow any teen to move on until they have shown success through assignments and assessments that are at an 80% or better average.

Lava Falls (for boys ages 16-17)

This program keeps in mind that boys at this age are on the verge of becoming adults, yet they can be emotionally immature. They are also acting out independently and making choices without the benefit of advice from others, but they do not necessarily have the skill set that they need to work through the consequences of their actions. The Lava Falls program helps them to transition from the emotional trappings of being a boy to understanding how to make life decisions as a man. It also lets each teen interact with others that are making this same transition and learning from their experiences in this journey.

The academic design of the program takes into account that many teens at this age level are not fully committed to the idea of the benefits of getting an education. They also have a need for nearly instant results and have not developed the maturity in understanding that everything has a process leading to success, so many of these teens have not experienced a level of achievement in their academics that have developed confidence in their academic abilities. Each teen will work at their own skill level and pace with certified teachers that will assess their academic assignments and allow students that accomplish an 80% or better on their work to move ahead to the next academic stage of their learning.

Sage Canyon (age 18+)

These are teens that are technically adults but continue to struggle with emotional and academic issues that are keeping them from entering adulthood with the necessary coping skills and educational level that they need to succeed in the adult world.
The academic structure for these teens focuses on completing the academic credits they need to complete their secondary degree and prepare for college. This also includes developing a firm foundation of college preparatory skills that will help them to develop a level of confidence in entering a new phase of their education. The certified teachers in this program will assess each student’s academic content and move each teen along their educational path at their own pace while setting individual goals based on each teen’s educational stage. This will lead to help with college applications once the teen has earned their accredited high school diploma.

Academic Programs for Girls at Diamond Ranch Academy

The Diamond Ranch Academy (DRA) takes a customized approach with their choice of six extensive programs for each teen who seeks residential treatment at DRA on its 55-acre campus. Each of the programs gives each teen personalized and professional attention while connecting them with a variety of resources that will aid them in accomplishing their goals to succeed in their program and in life.

The academic programs that are offered are accredited through AdvancED, a non-profit organization consisting of three pre-college regional accreditation groups: The Council on Accreditation and School Improvement of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (CASI); the Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), and the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC). AdvancEd works with the Utah State Office of Education to approve all the programs at DRA for academic recognition for teens who fulfill their credit requirements to earn a high school diploma and move on to college.

Diamond Ranch Academy structures all of its academic programs to give each teen the foundation of skills and tools that they need to not only accomplish their program goals but to be prepared to enter college and life beyond an academic setting. The following are basic resources that all teens have available to them at DRA:

• Classes in College Readiness Skills
• Career Goals Assessment and Guidance
• ACT & SAT Testing
• PSAT & ASVAB Testing
• Guidance in Choosing a College, the Application Process, and Scholarship Applications
• High School Transitioning
• Availability of College Courses (for high school graduates entering a DRA program)
• Field Trips (for exposure to real-life social and career experiences)
• Hands-on training in vocational fields

Diamond Ranch Academy understands that teens develop at their own pace depending on their age as well as have developmental issues that are specific to their gender, so DRA offers programs that are customized to meet the needs of the girls that reside at DRA:

Crystal Springs (for girls ages 12-15)

This is an age range for girls that is highly charged with new social experiences and biological developments that take girls from childhood into being a young woman. With these changes comes extreme changes in mood that can lead to a diminished feeling of self-confidence and peer pressure.

In this program, the emphasis is on character-building and understanding how each teen is attempting to circumvent through these changes and how it is affecting them. They also have the opportunity to unite with other teen girls in their struggle to cope with the same life changes. The academics center around developing the following personal traits and foundational life skills:

• Being a nurturing and responsible family member
• Building healthy family ties
• Personal hygiene and health
• Setting personal and social boundaries
• The way to use social media safely
• Practicing mindfulness in personal actions
• Coping with anxiety and stress
• Practice in regulating emotion
• The importance of a physical fitness regimen
• Interpersonal efficacy

Education in all of these practical life skills through the Crystal Springs program is coupled with academic assignments set forth by certified teachers who allow the girls to not only learn at their own pace and master each level and move on to the next challenge. The teachers show them how to be a personal stakeholder in their own learning. This is done by presenting learning tools and techniques to each teen that they can utilize throughout their lifetime. Each student will master the content at a level of 80% or higher than they are assigned before they are allowed to move on to further academic content within each subject area.

Whisper Creek (girls ages 16-18)

For many girls within this age range, biological growth into womanhood has already taken place, and the emotional growth that comes along with these changes needs to be assessed and nurtured in order to enter adulthood with a healthy outlook and confidence. The staff supports all the girls through this process during their tenure in the Whisper Creek program with the goal of developing a trust with the staff members to go to them with questions and concerns for guidance through any process that presents itself to each teen. There is also an opportunity to interact with other girls who are experiencing the same life issues and doubts about who can relate to their struggles and form a social and personal bond that can last a lifetime. The character-building design of this program suits the age of the participants and includes the following components:

• Being a nurturing and responsible family member
• Building healthy family ties
• Setting personal and social boundaries
• Personal hygiene and health
• Preparing for the adult world
• Being a responsible and contributing member of society
• Appropriate social media use
• Skills in job interviews and resume-building
• Interpersonal skills
• Practicing mindful behavior
• Developing tolerance skills
• Understanding how to regulate emotion
• The importance of regular physical fitness

Academically, this program is structured to maximize each student’s academic confidence and skill sets. The certified teachers work with each student to master the subject matter at an 80% or higher rate before they move on to the next level of content in that subject. So, the learning is paced at each girl’s own speed without pressure to move on because others have already done accomplished that particular academic goal. There is an additional emphasis on being responsible for the pace at which they progress as they work to meet their own personal goals. This gives them experience in the same kind of personal accountability they will need to use in real-life very soon in college and in their chosen career.