It may be time for a blog on suicide prevention. It seems like that’s all I’m involved in lately, from manning an info booth at a church fair, to having clients do things I am unable to prevent, to my daughters’ friends acting iffy.
Adolescence is a fragile age. Teenagers are unable to think things through and instead act on impulse. It is important to ACT instead of waiting to see what will happen. I’m not going to read other lists on the net. I’m going to just write down what I know:
- Line up a good therapist immediately. Ask around first. Ask your doctor’s office. Ask other parents. Don’t just choose out of the phone book. Therapist can be as bad as they can be good.
- Talk to the school about bullying. Ask your child’s friends if this is going on. Your child might not want to talk to you about it. Keep bother the school. They have policies in place but your child may not get any help unless THEY report it. And they might not want to.
- Take them into your local counseling agency for a suicide assessment or call the agency if it’s not business hours and then call their crisis line. They’ll do an assessment and determine the safety level of your child.
- Or go straight to the ER. They will call the crisis line and have someone come and do an evaluation.
- If your child is in danger they will find them a bed in a hospital, where they will be held for 72 hours and evaluated, diagnosed, medicated, and released with more services.
- Watching your child day and night while they feel this way is scary, exhausting, and isolating. Call someone you know who has been here before. Go see a therapist yourself. It’s okay.
- Lock up all medications. Just do it.
- Take the phone and laptop away at night. Lack of sleep does not help with depression. Put limits on.
- If they get rid of all their stuff, talk to friends about not being around anymore OR are hallucinating or hearing voices GO TO THE ER. This is not okay and not safe. Something seriously wrong is going on. Once a week therapy is not going to fix this.
- Let them visit www.letitout.info I like this site.
- Find a mentor for them who is a couple of years older and stable. A cousin, a friend, someone they can call and talk to when things are bad. As much as we would like them to talk to us, we usually become “the enemy” in their minds. It’s okay to have other people for them to lean on.
- Ask for help. Don’t be embarrassed.
- (Pssst. Go through their room, backpack, laundry, and other other place you can find info. Privacy, schmifacy. They have NO RIGHT to privacy. They are children. And they gave up any PRIVALEGE to privacy when they because unsafe. Read it all. Make it known you’re watching. I’d rather have a child who is unhappy I’m in their stuff, than one who isn’t around to frown at me.)
- Suicide hotlines are for parents too.
- Talk to their friends about how worried you are. Call friends and hand your child the phone.
- Someday you will help someone else by telling them how you got through.