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Anyone deal with suicidal teens?


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We have a 15 year old foster son that was hospitalized before he came to us 8 weeks ago for cutting and suicidal thoughts.

 

Since then he was doing much better but then 3 weeks ago his 13 year old girlfriend committed suicide and he has been in a tailspin.

 

He has in home counseling once a week and saw the psychiatrist Monday where his dose of anti depressant was increased. I am not totally happy with all of this but as a foster parent we have no choice of doctor or program or anything. Birth mom consents or denies meds and I just have to give them as prescribed.

 

How do you deal with the emotional stuff of the emotional roller coaster and praying that he will wake up each morning? We had no idea his level of mental health concerns when we agreed to placement (we were taking a teen on probation) and it is very taxing on the whole family.

 

He is from our local area so did not have to change schools, etc which is good and bad as his friend choices and school stuff aren't the most positive to start with.

 

Just a super tired foster mom here who has 4 other kids with special needs that need attention as well.

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His counselor should help you make a safety plan that includes removing knives, Meds, and any other potential methods of harm from him. He should also be part of agreeing to a safety plan, and if he can't do that, hospitalization might need to be considered again.

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BTDT--It's hard.

Yes to Mothergoose's post.

 

My faith helped me. Also, I experienced depression as a young mother and was suicidal, so I had a little empathy.

You gotta work thru your own you-know-what in order to be an effective parent, I find.

I had to learn to give my kids into God's care while making sure I was doing all I could to care for them in a healthy way.

 

Sorry this is part of your life. You are strong--you will get thru it.

 

Keep the counselor in the loop, and yes, you probably need to have concrete info from the counselor to make a plan, so that if things escalate, you will know just at what point to get just what kind of help.

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We have a safety plan but sadly it is, if he isn't actively doing something at the moment just supervise him closely type thing. We have every thing locked up, saw the doctor, have the therapist, etc but I wish they would hospitalize him for safety and stability and intense therapy. N

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We have a safety plan but sadly it is, if he isn't actively doing something at the moment just supervise him closely type thing. We have every thing locked up, saw the doctor, have the therapist, etc but I wish they would hospitalize him for safety and stability and intense therapy. N

 

I would tell the psychiatrist that.  Just say in your opinion of being a foster mom of X number of kids for X number of years, things are not going well, and you wish that they would hospitalize him for safety/stability reasons. 

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Yes, but not to the extent that she needed hospitalization.    Even so, I don't know what she would have done if a good friend or boyfriend had committed suicide when she was at her most vulnerable.  

 

prayers for him and you as you navigate this with him.  And hugs.  You must be exhausted. 

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I would tell the psychiatrist that. Just say in your opinion of being a foster mom of X number of kids for X number of years, things are not going well, and you wish that they would hospitalize him for safety/stability reasons.

If only it was that easy.

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My dd was depressed and suicidal at age 20.  Ultimately, she was diagnosed with bipolar.  She is a fighter.

 

My dd created a four week cycle for herself.  She sees a psychiatrist, a teen health social worker, a councellor and a mentor.  Each week she has someone she needs to go see to talk things through.  She signed documents so all four can talk to each other and with us parents.  She fights depression and suicidal thoughts daily but knows that the best way to win each day is to have a "team" bigger than her depression.

 

Is there any sort of mentor, counselor, teen health unit that you can access to give him more support?  Our local mental health unit also hosts "family" workshops where they explain mental health to the family and really help the teens find a way to vocalize what is going on in their heads.  Try reaching out to different groups and see what they have to offer.

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If he really appears to be in immediate crisis, you can 1. call the emergency number for behavioral health and have them direct you where to go, or 2. take him to the regular ER. 

 

About the only red flag I would have in your shoes with the placement would be if mom is refusing medication the psychiatrist says he needs. In that case, I'd be on the phone to his social worker, your social worker, his CASA, his GAL, and anyone else who might be able to help.

 

I would also want to have a word with your agency/placement case worker about not preparing/warning you properly, and let them know you think the child should possibly be receiving a more intensive level of care than is available in your home. Are you allowed to see a child's records before placement?

 

Teens in foster care tend to have mental health issues more often than not--but this sounds pretty serious.

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I am so sorry you are dealing with this.  We have been in this boat with our 19yo.  We are not quite there right now, but the first few days this week were "eyes on K, 24 hours a day." 

His counselor should help you make a safety plan that includes removing knives, Meds, and any other potential methods of harm from him. He should also be part of agreeing to a safety plan, and if he can't do that, hospitalization might need to be considered again.

:iagree: If this safety plan isn't enough, there needs to be a plan of action.  24 hour a day supervision is nearly impossible on a longer term basis.  Just when you think things are OK, you find out that it was an act. 

 

<snip> She signed documents so all four can talk to each other and with us parents.  <snip>

 

Is there any sort of mentor, counselor, teen health unit that you can access to give him more support?  Our local mental health unit also hosts "family" workshops where they explain mental health to the family and really help the teens find a way to vocalize what is going on in their heads.  Try reaching out to different groups and see what they have to offer.

Is there anything in between hospitalization and once a week sessions?  I didn't think anything like that was available until the local mental health center recommented a partial inpatient program, which was daily from 8:30 - 2:30.  They received individual therapy, group therapy, activities and school time.  This gave me some badly needed breaks so that I could run errands and get things done before I was back on supervision duty.  It also helped move beyond suicidal ideation a lot faster.  They also had a step-down program that was just a few hours a day.  K, my 19 yo, will be entering something similar for adults. 

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Oh, Ottakee.   :grouphug:

 

I'm so sorry he, and you and your family, are enduring this.  Nothing to offer that hasn't already been said, and... there's not much to say.

 

So often over the years I have in awe of how much you pour into your foster kids.  He's lucky to be with you during this interval, even if he's not able to know that, yet.

 

Holding you all in the light.

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I would tell the psychiatrist that. Just say in your opinion of being a foster mom of X number of kids for X number of years, things are not going well, and you wish that they would hospitalize him for safety/stability reasons.

That isn't justification for a psychiatric hospitalization. Involuntary commitments require a specific set of criteria to be met. Even if it were, psychiatric beds are hard to find. Getting help with mental health issues is quite difficult.

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That isn't justification for a psychiatric hospitalization. Involuntary commitments require a specific set of criteria to be met. Even if it were, psychiatric beds are hard to find. Getting help with mental health issues is quite difficult.

.

 

YES this is the issue, esp for teens. Even if it was voluntary, they might have to send him 3 hours away to a hospital that had an open bed. Then there is funding.....so much cheaper to pay foster care than inpatient rate.

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