The End Of A Long Week

GETTY_H_030811_SadDepressedYouthTeenI recently just heard about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and I feel so stuck in a box right now because I am still at the high school I work at and can’t get access to television.

 

Yes I can read it and see pictures on the internet, but it is not the same.

I’ve been busy myself this week with a number of suicidal kids, one suicide attempt and now I am watching a suicidal teenager (yes while writing this) as we wait for a sheriff deputy to come so I can brief them on what’s going on and have them take him to the local psychiatric hospital.

It’s been one of those weeks.

This particular client is hearing voices, has been so for about a year, the same amount of time he has been getting headaches, so I think it’s possible his hearing voices could be medically based.

He’s also states he’s been depressed since he was 8 years old so it’s possible his depression is causing his auditory hallucinations as well.

I don’t know, all I know is that I would like for him to get a full medical evaluation and kept safe from harming himself for the moment, which aren’t things that can be done here so I have to refer him and his family to places where that can be done.

Talking this his family on the phone, they knew that he has been complaining of hearing voices, but never thought enough of it to try to get him help.

Once again, there goes the whole denial of mental illness again.

It’s torturous, almost abusive to deny help to a kid hearing voices that are irritating him, causing him not to be able to concentrate or focus, and causing him to yell out things like “shut up” in the middle of church (talking to the voices).

So on the phone when the family said, “Oh, he’s been hearing voices for awhile”, I stressed to them the immediate importance that he get evaluated if they didn’t want to find him dead over the weekend due to killing himself.

A little shock therapy? Maybe, but I can’t take the chance on this young man killing himself because he is so depressed and can’t take hearing the voices in his head any more. Sure, many people hear voices and aren’t suicidal, but this kid is.

Many times in the school I work at, parents seem to be mis-educated or plain ignorant about mental illness and suicide. They don’t want to talk about it and definitely don’t want to get help about it most of the time, unless it’s going to get them a disability check.

Even then, they will go to the therapist/psychiatrist as needed, get on the medication if needed to fulfill the disability check status, and then either don’t get the prescriptions filled or stop giving it to their kids after the first refill or two.

So many kids I work with have been prescribed medication for depression, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar disorder and even schizophrenia, but haven’t taken medication in almost a year.

Now, I am not a big proponent of psychotropic medication, only referring families for medication evaluations when I think it is absolutely necessary, but these teenagers I am talking about, when not on their medication, are out of control.

These are the kids that are attempting suicide, so depressed that they can’t function, so anxious that they can’t go a whole week without being taking off campus in an ambulance for having a severe panic attack and driving their fellow classmates and teachers crazy with their erratic behavior.

These are the kids that need medication, because no amount of counseling can correct something that is largely chemically based. Yes I can work with them and help them learn to cope better, but if they are so out of it that they can’t take in or practice what I teach them, then counseling won’t work alone.

I guess I should have been prepared for this week and next week. Unfortunately, along with all the blessings of the season, this is also the time of year when we see an increase in student suicidal ideation (thoughts) and child abuse.

My clients, your kids, your students need us to be vigilant and responsive to their signs of distress.

This is not the post I attended on writing today, but maybe I just needed to vent a little. After multiple suicidal kids and just a frantic week of tense, emotionally and mentally unstable clients, I’m looking forward to the weekend.

It’s my time to recharge myself, refill my emotional energy so that I can stay healthy myself, be there for those around me and give it all up again next week.

2 thoughts on “The End Of A Long Week

  1. You are very strong, and I commend you for your attention, courage, and effort. After reading your post, I’m surprised by the parents, and although I can understand never wanting your child to be sick, and preferring to believe that he or she is fine, just going through a phase, they think, but voices, for a while? Voices that crippled him to a point of suicide … perhaps it all boils down to education, but after what’s happened yesterday, something really needs to be done. Keep up the good work, and thank you for making the world better.

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