When Your Teen is Admitted to a Psychiatric Hospital

Sunday, November 23 2014 Christina Halli

It took four hours to admit my 15-year-old son, Bob, to the psychiatric hospital for suicidal ideation. It had been a long stressful day since Bob told his therapist he almost killed himself the night before. She had made Bob sign a safety contract then released him to me. I tried to keep him busy and distracted, but by late afternoon he could fight no more. Bob asked me to take him to the hospital.

The admission process was painfully slow. Several people asked Bob the same, endless questions. Each time Bob answered them my heart clenched.

Finally, they gave him a gown and took him away.

Admitted your teen to the psychiatric hospital can be scary. This parent of a suicidal teen shares her story of her child in the psychiatric hospital.

My husband, Bill, and I returned to the hospital with some of Bob's belongings. It was 10:00 p.m. and I felt a small sense of relief. My son was alive and safe for now.

"Why are you crying?" I asked Bill. It had been a horrifying and hectic day, but sadness was not what I was feeling.

"I didn't realize how sick he is."

I did. Bob had showed signs of depression in second grade. He tried antidepressant medication in sixth grade, then was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. At the beginning of ninth grade, I brought Bob to this exact hospital because he became violent, but he was not admitted.

Everything had been leading up to this moment. While my spouse had always been supportive, it took this hospitalization for him to fully understand. Our son has a serious mental illness and it was not going away.

Mental Hospitals Provide Safety and Structure for Patients

The next week was a blur. We were allowed to speak to our son on the phone for 10 minutes, twice a day. We could visit for two hours each evening.

Visiting our son felt like visiting a high security prison:

  • Only immediate family members were allowed.
  • No more than two visitors at a time were permitted.
  • All visitors were searched.
  • No outside food, unless earned was allowed.
  • No candy or treats were permitted.
  • No contraband (straws, staples, drawstrings) were allowed.

Each night we sat with Bob in a large, barren room. He was inattentive and sometimes hostile, mostly towards me. It was excruciating to sit with him.

Hospital Staff Guide Parents of Mentally Ill Children

We met with Dr. Clark mid-week. She blasted information, directions and statistics at us. She explained Bob would be at high risk for suicide after his release from the hospital. Therefore, she ordered eyes-on-supervision 24/7 for 30 days. There would be no electronics and no contact with Bob's girlfriend. She described suicide contagion. She told us 80% of marriages fail after a child's suicide.

As we left the meeting, we saw Bob exercising with a group in the visitation room. He looked like a zombie as he swayed back and forth, arms outstretched, eyes vacant.

My next door neighbor came over to help me make the house safe, a job I couldn't do alone. We started with the obvious harmful objects. Soon I became crazed suggesting every household item could be dangerous. My friend talked me down, but it wasn't easy.

Admitted your teen to the psychiatric hospital can be scary. This parent of a suicidal teen shares her story of her child in the psychiatric hospital.

Another friend came by over the weekend to help redecorate Bob's room. She skillfully displayed Bob's memorabilia on the walls. I arranged the many cards and gifts that arrived.

Bob was released after eight days inpatient. When we got to the house, he saw the balloons on the mailbox. We stopped to take pictures with his little sister. When he saw his room and all his personal items on display, he cried. Though the battle wasn't over, my son was home.

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Author: Christina Halli

View all posts by Christina Halli.

When Your Teen is Admitted to a Psychiatric Hospital

Dawn Singer
November, 23 2014 at 10:11 am

My daughter was hospitalized for a month not too long ago and finally diagnosed with bipolar among other things. The extent of her distress I didn't even realize until she was admitted and your blog brought back all the memories of visiting her and thinking that my daughter was a zombie and would we ever have our daughter back. I pray that the dialogue about mental illness will continue to happen. It's sad but my husband is still embarrassed to say that his daughter has a mental illness because he is afraid of what people might say in their ignorance. My prayers for you and your family. Keep sharing, it is helping.

November, 23 2014 at 3:35 pm

I was admitted to a psychiatric hospital at the age of 12, and then dozens of times as an adult.

There were never balloons. Neighbors, friends, co-workers...none of these people ever helped my mom. They knew what was going on, but never offered anything but an expression of pity and a side of judgment.

I think if there had ever been balloons, if my release were treated as positive, shame would not have developed. Or, maybe there would have been a more healthy dialogue between my parents and I.

Thank you for putting out balloons. Thank you for treating your son like a deserving human.

December, 1 2014 at 4:31 am


My daughter is 16 and has tried to commit suicide twice (overdosing on her own mediation) She was in a rehab for 3 weeks.
She was asked to leave the house of her stepdads at the age of 14 due to her bad behaviour and the affect is was having on our little daughter. She hold me totally responsible for this and of course being a mom how could you not. She went to live with her dad and he had to leave town due to getting a job out of town. She wanted to go to boarding school. She is home schooled at this boarding school and her moods change often, one day happy next she wants to kill herself, swears at me over the phone. She under a psychiatrist and is on meds but she makes me cry al the time. Manipulates me and black mails me.


In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Christina Halli
December, 1 2014 at 2:13 pm

Hi Sharon,
It sounds like your daughter has been extremely unwell. I'm glad to hear she has a psychiatrist helping her with treatment. I hear you saying her behavioral symptoms have affected your whole family. This is normal. Mental illness does affect the whole family and it can be horribly stressful. I hope you can do something for yourself to nurture your own feelings and emotions when you feel like parenting your daughter is wearing you down.

December, 1 2014 at 5:32 am

I was admitted at 14, (over 30 yrs ago...Whoa!), and what I got mainly was judgment from everyone, from my parents, (their abuse was the cause and trigger), friends of my parents, clergy, pediatrician etc. My parents got more empathy than I did and their behaviors triggered my illness. It is always great to see parents who are involved and care, that neighbors did too is almost unbelievable but great. I wish the best for your son and family. I am still fighting 60+ hospitalizations and 33 yrs later. I hope hs battle gets easier.

December, 1 2014 at 11:20 am

I've been hospitalized 3 times for suicidal ideation and they really did nothing. I was there for 2 days, 5 days and then 2 nights and they just turn you over. The facilities and procedures aren't in place in most areas. The place in my home town only has 2 rooms. I knew of someone who went in more than 3 times in a period of a few months because she'd go home and attempt again and they did nothing for her. She was actually turned away and no one knew what to do because she was a danger to be left alone. In a city where I have seen an increasing number of teen suicides, it's clear that not all is being done that should be.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Christina Halli
December, 1 2014 at 2:05 pm

Hi Jade,
Thanks for sharing your experience. I agree we as a society have a long way to go to help our teenagers struggling with mental illness and suicidal thoughts. I am hopeful that sharing my experience will help others.

December, 1 2014 at 1:59 pm

Wow, we all follow such a similar path. We admitted my son at age 22, when he finally told us he just couldn't think.was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The only people that even come close to relating are those who have walked the same road. In time, grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins have accepted the different young man. The mixture of emotions as we left him at the hospital will never be forgotten.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Christina Halli
December, 1 2014 at 2:03 pm

Hi Donna,
Thanks for your comment. Yes, we all have similar experiences, don't we? The emotions we feel as parents hospitalizing our mentally ill children are intense and need to be processed in a healthy way. I think sharing our stories and feelings helps.

Gill Hodgson
December, 1 2014 at 2:39 pm

My now 15 year old son has been battling severe depression and low self esteem. He's has a personality disorder. And so very angry and hurts himself. He also hear and sees things. He's adimate he has the devil inside him. He's very religious and fears of going in to a church because he will be taking evil in with him too. The support has been very little. I pray everyday that he will be with me but the end of the day. He's Tried a couple of times in the past to take his life. It breaks my heart to see my baby suffering so much. Not sure what to do anymore to be honest .

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Christina Halli
December, 2 2014 at 2:17 am

Hi Gill,
It sounds like you are in a lot of pain because you do not know how to help your child who is struggling with mental illness. This is common for many of us. It is so hard. I wonder if you can find support or respite for yourself when it becomes too much.

Lisa Keith
December, 1 2014 at 5:16 pm

My daughter also requested to go into inpatient at age 16. Unfortunately, the nearest adolescent facility was 200 miles away. She was there for a week and we spoke on the phone. It seemed to be a clean and positive facility. They were able to adjust her meds and closely supervise her. But not being able to see her during that week was horrible. They took her by ambulance and when she was released, I had to figure out how to get there to pick her up and bring her home.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Christina Halli
December, 2 2014 at 2:19 am

Hi Lisa,
Thank you for sharing your experience. Its sounds terrible not to be able to see your sick child in the hospital for a week. I think any parent would struggle in that situation. It took amazing strength and courage for you to get your child the help she needed at the time.

December, 4 2014 at 4:18 pm

Hello, I am Coral. I was admitted to a psychological hospital when I was 15. I was seriously depressed and diagnosed with Major Depression Disorder. But what could you have expected, my brother did drugs, my stepfather, and mom did drugs as well as my mother dealing with alcohol. My father did not take his medicine right and became highly dependent on Lortabs. I was molested twice, watched my house burn in an accidental fire and lost my mother to suicide and my stepfather (one of my molesters) overdosed on heroine.
The hospital was deadly. I was admitted quite quickly to find out they didn't have a bed. So I sat in a waiting room type of deal with patients like me. It wasn't until 12:00 that they found a bed in a different hospital 2 hours away from where I lived. So there I was, getting sigNed in and registered. Then it took a couple hours for my to answer their questions. Finally at 6 o clock in the morning, when everyone was waking up, I went to bed as I got there extremely early. The food was horrid and the day dragged on and on. Wake up, do hygiene,eat breakfast, go to "class" which was reading on a third grade level, group therapy where we watched videos made that were made in the 90s, snack time, "class" again where we played with play-dough, lunch, process group therapy where we got in lots of fights and many people had to step out due to memories, "class" where we watched a movie, active therapy where we went outside for 20 minutes, shower, dinner, then free time after that. Lights out at nine. Phone calls, once a day, 10 minutes, before bedtime. It was prison.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Christina Halli
December, 5 2014 at 2:09 am

Coral, thank you for sharing your experience. As a parent, I appreciate hearing your perspective. It sounds like you had a lot of trauma in your life. That is extremely difficult for any child to deal with.

December, 6 2014 at 8:39 am

My youngest daughter has been hospitalized several times during her teen years for suicidal ideation and cutting. Her last hospitalization was January/Feb. this years where she had to be hospitalized 4 times. But not she has been put on new medication and it has been like night and day. She is positive, her anger has been lessened (she was punching and kicking holes in the walls), she is working. I don't think I ever believed we would get to this point because of all the other medication she had been on didn't seem to get any results. And it is a lot of pain and guilt seeing your child suffer and you seem helpless to aid them. I hope your son is doing better. Remember there is really only so much you can do as a parent, but love, support and fight for their recovery. I pray you and your family are well and at peace with what is going on.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Christina Halli
December, 6 2014 at 3:27 pm

Hi Faye, thank you for your comment.It sounds like you have been through a lot with your daughter. I agree with you, it is heartbreaking to watch a child suffer. As parents, we can only guide them and support them. I'm glad to hear your daughter is finding some relief right now.

December, 6 2014 at 8:15 pm

My daughter was hospitalized for 24 days. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and other things. Life for her is hard a lot of days and all she wants is to be normal. And I am having a hard time trying to cope and understand because my husband can't or won't see that she does have problems and thinks and implies that there is nothing wrong but I know there is sometimes I look into her eyes and she isn't in there and other times she is. This story really helped me and I thank everyone for sharing.

December, 10 2014 at 4:30 pm

My ex-wife abandoned the children last year for a man she met on Facebook. She has a history of mental illness, re-triggered after the birth of our second child and she slowly deteriorated which led to the children's neglect when I was at work.
Six months after the ex's departure, my older daughter 14yrs, who had been emotionally traumatized, told her school she attempted suicide. She was already being treated with psych med changes, and a psychologist in dealing with her mother's abandonment. But her PTSD, mood swings, desocialization etc eventually became diagnosed as bipolar.
She was hospitalized twice since and has recently been violent toward my other daughter 10yrs and myself on several occasions. We've had her to many family and private therapy sessions to deal with it. Despite med changes, two psychologists, a truncated school schedule, and constant love and support in the best home I could provide, she only gets worse.
Recently, my daughter in a low point, falsely accused me of physical and verbal abuse to the school psychologist. She said that I hit her with a pillow to coax her to get up and go to school yet it was she who became violent hitting and throwing things.
Well, the school reported it to cps, and now she's with an aunt, my ex's sister, who believed her outright without asking me, she herself, having come from an abusive father, but having had no contact with my children or myself for many months before this.
I have no prior mental or criminal history of any sort, have been a devoted father to my girls since birth, have been cleared by cps after their saying the investigation was unwarranted, but my daughter, who's now both mentally and physically looking worse than ever, is refusing to come home, still accusing me, I believe, for having dug herself a hole she can't get out of.

I am heartbroken, beyond lost, and frustrated in what to do. I found out she hasn't been back to school since, and when I saw her briefly, looks and sounds like hell...My 10yr old daughter and I, in our finally peaceful house, are getting on fine but are missing her so much. Living hell. Any thoughts or comments are welcome. I am at a total loss.

January, 22 2015 at 4:31 pm

I am 15 years old and have been diagnosed with depression. I am currently seeing a therapist once two times a week. Suicide is always on my mind and I haven't eaten properly in a long period of time and my weight is dropping. I want to be checked into a mental hospital but am not quite sure how to go about that. I have four sisters. Three of which have attempted suicide. My dad is a former drug addict. I hate my mom. But mostly I struggle with self consciousness. I try to tell people that I uave a very hard time controlung my anger but they quickly dismiss it. I have also been diagnosed with trich *impulse control disorder which causes the need to pull out of one's hair.* I have gotten therapy for self harm in rhe past and I have a tendency to binge drink. Yes alcohol. But my therapist has yet to know that. I feel qs if i qm different from others at my school. I have also been diagnosed with ADHD. But its not only that.I anonymously told an online therapist these things and he said I have borderline personality disorder. Do you think this is correct? Any advice also on being admitted would be immensely appreciated. Thanks

June, 9 2015 at 7:10 am

Touche. Great arguments. Keep up the amazing work.

July, 23 2015 at 1:50 am

My daughter is on her 5th hospital stay in two months. She loves being in the hospital despite it being like a prison. She does very well in the hospital because she wants to be there so then they discharge her. She even gets to the point of saying she wants to be home and can make things work.she comes home, escalates, and gets herself placed again. At one point we believe a hospital stay was necessary but now she's just manipulating. She was initially admitted for aggressive and violent behavior towards us but in the hospital learned about suicide attempts and self harm and is now engaged in that behavior. She has five diagnoses including bipolar and autism.

October, 2 2015 at 2:55 am

abby your story sounds like ours. our son is now on third stay but this time has made threats on our lives and won't talk to us now. it is very hard to see him like this.

November, 16 2015 at 12:07 am

I talked someone out of committing suicide once and I can tell the parents at this site that people who are suicidal need to talk it out and a hug and ongoing TLC. If you don't know how to listen to your child's stuff yourself, encourage your child to ring a kidsline number as much as they need to to talk their stuff out, and probably get a counsellor too. consider different parenting approaches too - this can be very important. don't automatically trust the professionals without reading up on how to help your children using different approaches and techniques yourself. mental health treatment is not yet very good even in this day and age and poor mental health can be the symptom, not the cause, anyway. TLC will help your child a lot - if your approach to providing it is not working, read up on and try different approaches. Call in whatever help you can get - where there is a will, there is a way. I hope this information helps someone.

January, 20 2016 at 6:20 am

My daughter found out about her fathers affair on her 16th birthday. She had been having anxiety attacks prior to the incident and she suffers from severe depression. At the age of 13, she harmed herself. I did not do anything at that time because I didn't know how to handle it. On Christmas Day, during church, she had a huge anxiety attack, passed out, and ended up in the hospital. They kept her as an impatient. It hurts to see my daughter so broken. She can't even attend school anymore so her work has to get sent home and she has to see a tutor. Meanwhile, her father and I are in the process of a messy divorce and he keeps dumping his problems on her. I am very close with her and she has been opening up to me a lot. Things are very hard for her and she has been having break downs almost daily. When under stress she can't breathe properly. I've taken her to a spa to get away but even then she had an anxiety attack. She barely sleeps, and she's gained 40 pounds in 2 years due to stress eating and the refusal of excersize. I'm very worried about my baby.

January, 27 2016 at 12:17 pm

I'm 16 and suicide is always on my mind. I would like to be admitted in a place that can help me but I don't know how well that will go. My weight is not that good. Sometimes I go many days without eating so I can faint or maybe even die I just want help. I wish I could get the proper help I need. I don't know how my mom would feel about this, being that she don't know or no one knows.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
January, 28 2016 at 5:22 am

Hi Ke'llah,

I'm sorry to hear that you're in that position. Help is so important. I recommend you talk to a professional (like your doctor) or call a helpline to get additional help with your parents. See our page of resources and hotlines here: http://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-…

Good luck.

- Natasha Tracy
- Blog Manager

February, 7 2016 at 9:47 am

Hi Christina,

I tried to find you on FB, but couldn't. Don't know if you are still on there. My teen is transgender (female body, male otherwise), since infancy I've notice I was raising a boy. His first time in a hospital was age 11, been 4 times all short term. Now Jace is 17 and feels he needs to go long term and I'm hoping we can find a good place for him. It's so difficult watching him go thru this and I can't relate at all. His dad is BiPolar, skitsofrenic, OCD and paranoid. He checked himself into a hospital in his late 20's for four years (we had been married for 6 years by that point) because he heard voice telling him scary things. Anyway, wondering & hoping if my baby will ever live a happy or somewhat normal life.

February, 11 2016 at 2:44 pm

My ER experience would be saying something to a teacher
that was along the lines of 'I don't want to live anymore'
who got worried and then called my parents who took me
to the hospital, I was temporarily admitted as they
assessed me and asked the same questions over and over
again. I lied and got released. I do regret it now but
I can't handle the shame.

There was a point over the summer where I couldn't take
it anymore and I called one of my family members, not
immediate, and asked them to take me to town. They
didn't understand why I asked and this happened
for the next week or so. Probably spent 3 nights
at their place. Parents sure were angry about it,
they didn't understand(and searched my room.)

I regret lying, as I had a chance to get some help
but I hate the shame and stigma around it. That is
what stopped me. I just want the pain to stop.

It is also getting bad again and I just want it
all to go away. I don't know what to do anymore.

February, 11 2016 at 2:45 pm

I have read this story a few times, it is one of those things that gives me hope.

February, 18 2016 at 2:22 pm

I am only 13 but I have attempted suicide 6 times and when my mom found out about one of the attempts she just over looked the situation. I suffer from severe depression and all I can ever think about is suicide. I have thought about mine and my families safety and would like to be admitted into an phyciatric teen hospital but I don't know how to tell my mom. I don't know what to do anymore.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
February, 19 2016 at 6:00 am

Hi Chloe,

I'm so sorry to hear that you're experiencing that. I do know what it's like to be depressed at 13 years old. I was that way too.

Please, please, please, don't hurt yourself. Please reach out for help (it sounds like you want this). Please contact a helpline: http://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-…

If you feel like you're in danger of hurting yourself and even a helpline isn't enough, call 9-1-1 or walk into an Emergency Room. That is what they are there for. This may help your parents understand how serious the situation is.

You can also talk to your school counselor about what is happening and they may be able to help you approach your parents as well.

Don't give up. Keep telling people you trust until someone helps you. You deserve help and you can get better.

- Natasha Tracy
- Blog Manager (and bipolar)

February, 25 2016 at 6:33 am

A young man who is very close to me was put into a psychiatric facility last Thursday for cutting. His parents died when he was eight months old and he has been living with different family members ever since. I have not known him for very long however his story is that the caregivers were mentally abusing him. I feel so helpless because I feel the only people that are readily available to help him are actually against him. His family feel that myself and my daughter are the cause of all of the problems he is having yet the problems started before we met him. Anyone have any advice?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
February, 26 2016 at 4:13 am

Hi Jinxy,

I'm sorry this person is in this situation. What I recommend is seeing if you can get a professional advocate or support person to get involved. See organizations NAMI or DBSA or another local mental health organization for help with this. (Just Google those groups to find out what is near you.)

- Natasha Tracy
- Blog Manager

March, 9 2016 at 3:51 am

At fifteen, my mom took me to the ER. Depression and bipolar runs in my family, so it wasn't exactly a surprise that I was suicidal, that I had given up, etc. etc. I didn't care at all, and I was presented with two options: I wasn't going home. I could be hospitalized as an inpatient, like your son, or a partial patient.

Entering there was just as depressing as being at home. The 'max security' atmosphere felt suffocating and, though I'm not really rebellious, I was very tempted to run. I could have nothing at all on my person. I could not be visited. Me and about seven other teens with problems sat in a room while different adults came in to have 'discussions'.

I know now it was group therapy. I don't know if it was because of my mental state or the people that I hated it so much. For three hours, every day, I sat in a room while different people blasted the importance of a positive attitude and expected participation. Then lunch, then another hour and a half of that, or exercise, and then I had to talk with a woman. She introduced herself as Nicki, but whether she was a counselor, a therapist, or something else she never said.

Only that, for about half an hour towards the end of my day, she expressed her disappointment in my not having participated and not showing I was better and not caring more about life and having given up and - her words, not mine - "choosing to be miserable". I was depressed, bi-polar depression, granted, but still depressed. I had a hard enough time not breaking down into tears around the other teens there. I cried in her too-hot office a lot.

During this time, my mom and I argued a lot. One-sided arguments, because she was upset I didn't want to live and I wouldn't tell her I suddenly changed my mind and was pumped about life.

I really didn't want to go there. I understand that some see it as necessary - maybe it was. But after Nicki looked me in the eye and accused me of self-harm (the rest of the building was freezing - I had the gall to wear a sweatshirt like everyone else) I didn't care what it would take to get me out.

I lied on the morning sheets I filled out. Oh, of course I didn't have suicidal thoughts! Oh, of course I had goals! Oh, of course I had never cut before! (She wouldn't have seen anything if I had taken off my sweatshirt.)

And, thankfully, after a solid week, I was discharged.

Next was therapy and psychologist visits. Marginally less painful than what I had just sat through. I was given hotline numbers (as if I would use them) for when I wanted to kill myself or wanted to self-harm. Those papers ended up in the trash as soon as I came home. When filling out paperwork, and answering the yes or no questions my mom asked as she went down the list, one of them was, naturally, 'Do you self-harm or have you in the last six months?' I told her yes, even though I was terrified to tell the truth. She was quiet, and then told me: "I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that," and asked the next question.

I was still depressed. I was still suicidal. I still cut. These things didn't change until I was medicated for bipolar. Even now, I struggle with being very flippant about life and suicide. I lost my appetite during that time period, and never gained it back. My mom's frustration with how little I eat is something I deal with on a near-daily basis, though my weight and BMI fall within normal categories.

That was last year, now. I hated it. This, and one other experience, has given me a strong dislike and distrust of therapists and counselors. I do still cut, but I managed to get out of having to go to therapy. I wouldn't tell my mom again, ever. Especially not after she told me she thought I was anorexic. My sister found out, and I do feel guilty for having promised her I wouldn't cut and then, well, cutting.

I admire troopers, who can keep going. But after my experience with hospitalization, and already disinclined to be talked out of harming myself, I would never be one to call 9-1-1 or walk into the ER and tell them, Hey, I slice myself open, don't eat, and want to die.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
March, 18 2016 at 8:14 am

Hi Isabelle,

My name is Natasha. I have bipolar disorder, write "Breaking "Bipolar" here and am the blog manager.

I'm not sure what to say to you. I guess what you need to know is that I've been through something similar to what you've been through. At 15 it's very hard to deal with any kind of mental illness because you're not an adult and can't make your own decisions yet. Nevertheless, professionals can still be very, very valuable. Believe me, treatment is what you need in your situation.

Don't run away from therapy. Therapy is there to help you understand what's happening and give you tools to cope with it. You cannot live a successful life without these coping tools.

As for your stint in the hospital? Well, hopefully you won't need that again, but remember -- your life is worth far more than a hospital visit.

I know you said you'd never use a helpline, but you should. You can be anonymous and they _will_listen_ to what you're going through. You don't have to call them about cutting, per se, you can call them about whatever you need to talk about.

Please don't turn your back on all that help that is being offered to you. You need it.

Here is a link to our hotlines and resources page, in case you change your mind: http://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-…

- Natasha Tracy
- Blog Manager

April, 24 2016 at 11:10 am

Wow, reading all these tragic stories of children on psychiatric drugs. Makes me want to ask one question of everybody. Do you ever wonder if it was the medications that created all your kids' mental problems? If you look way back, to before they ever took their first meds. Was it only after they started taking the meds did the real serious problems surface? How many kids here needed to be committed who were NOT taking meds at the time?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 14 2017 at 9:04 am

I knew my son was "different" at age 2. I took parenting classes because I didn't know how to handle his behavior. Those classes didn't help at all. My son was still a violent, angry child.
In 1st grade, he tried to start the school on fire. He was obsessed with fire. He was harming animals and constantly acting out against me, his brother and father. When he did something wrong, my now x-husband, would take things away that he liked and when that didn't work, he would use the belt on him. I told my x that he needed help. I got him in to see countless therapists, but that didn't work either. My son just wouldn't open up. I thought he needed medication, but his father was extremely anti-meds.
When my son was caught on social media with a picture he had taken of himself snorting pills, my x said he couldn't handle it and sent him to live with me.
He skipped school, was suspended countless times again, and began self harming again and tried to commit suicide.
I got him into short term and he was put on medication. He has been to short term 6 times and is now in long term finally.
We have tried several different combinations of medications, but nothing seems to work right yet. He has seen more therapists and also a psychiatrist.He did so much before he finally was put on meds. That was my last hope, or so I thought. I'm not saying medication is the only answer. I know my son needs meds, therapy and many other things. He is bi-polar, has ADHD, is SMD, has severe depression and anxiety and the list goes on.
I'm just doing the best with what I've been dealt with. I'm here looking for help and advice too. But I KNOW that medication did not cause my son's problems. He was put on medication because of his problems. They are a last resort other than hospitalization.
We, as parents, would do anything to help our children. Normally we start with therapy.
Do you have a child with similar issues? Think about that before you judge. It doesn't sound like you have been through anything that these other parent's have been through. You don't have any sort of grasp on what we are going through or what we are trying to do to help our children.

April, 28 2016 at 5:03 pm

Hi Danny

My 12 year old son was admitted twice now (currently he is in a mental hospital) for suicidial thoughts, self harm and, this time, attempted suicide. The first time he was admitted he was not on any meds. This time they have taken him off Zoloft and are considering bipolar as a possible diagnosis. He was already diagnosed with moderate depression and anxiety.

So, to answer your question, being on the meds is not the cause or reason for the issues or the hospitalization. My son has a therapist and a psychiatrist as well.

It is a very hard thing to deal with as a parent, especially when your child is so young. But we cannot stop trying to help. Sometimes the medications are hard to get right and this is a problem. But knowing my son wants to kill himself is so heavy and so painful as his mother.

June, 8 2016 at 6:01 pm

So many heartbreaking stories here. My heart goes out to all of you and your families.

Personally, I've been depressed since I was a child, suicidal on and off (much more in my late teen years and recently), and even slightly homicidal when I was young (fantasizing about killing my abusive parents and raising my siblings myself). I've also been very anxious since I was a child, but my mother always pushed it off as "puberty" and "mood swings". The depression manifested itself in random bouts of crying because I was just so sad but didn't know why, and those, too, were written off as puberty.
As I got older, I indulged in little self-harming behaviors before I even knew what self-harm was. Scratching at a spot in my skin until I bled, picking off freckles or moles, biting my arm.
When I was 18, I tried therapy. My therapist was a very cold person who would sit there with her computer and ask me these vague questions that made me super anxious and made my mind go completely blank, and then she'd get frustrated with me when I couldn't answer them. I dreaded going to therapy. Eventually I just stopped going altogether, but kept going to the psych LPN in the same office, who put me on so many different drugs that I don't even remember them all. None of them worked. I wasn't sleeping at night, I was working all the time and barely holding it together.
When I was 20, I moved out of my parents' house, expecting things to get better, but they didn't. One of my roommates became a moody, hostile, selfish pig, and the other was so stressed from putting up with him (they were together at the time) that she wasn't very nice either. (side note: we kicked him out and I am roommates with her to this day.)
I cried almost every night. I'd listen to comedy podcasts or watch movies in order to be able to fall asleep. I was stressed, didn't know how to handle my money, and kept having car trouble, not to mention I was working two awful jobs.
the previous fall, my best friend and the one person I felt I could really trust and belong with "broke up" with me. His reasoning didn't make sense and he didn't seem to care how this made me feel, at all.
Six months after I moved out, the pain was just too much for me. The loss of that friendship, my pain-filled childhood, my jobs, and my self-hatred. I started cutting.
I "quit" cutting a few months later, but a few months after that, I started doing it again. I "quit" again, then lo and behold, fell back into it, worse than ever. I was cutting in the bathroom just in order to get myself through the terrible work days. Or at home, in my tub, just so I could get to sleep.
I quit again, but have had a few relapses since. Today, sometimes it's hard to believe I was ever that low, but sometimes I still feel like I might end up back in that place.
I started seeing a new therapist, and she really helped me. I haven't seen her in a long time because I couldn't afford the copay or the gas to get to her office (40 minutes away, over an hour with traffic). But she helped while I was going to her. I'm more stable financially now, so I'm on the lookout for a therapist closer to home who can help me get back on track to healing.
Not all therapists are bad. If you have a bad experience, find another one. You deserve to get the help you need.

My oldest brother, two years younger than me, has schizophrenia; the second oldest has ADHD; the third, my only sister, has anorexia and depression and generalized anxiety disorder and has been hospitalized two or three times for it. She has more self-harm scars than I do, and it breaks my heart. The fourth has Down syndrome and the youngest has ADHD and possible autism. I love them all dearly but you have never met a family more fraught with chronic illness, mental or otherwise.

Anyway, the reason I found this article is I'm writing a book in which one of my main characters goes into treatment for anorexia, and I have a few questions I'm trying to get answered, but there are no stories from the actual teenagers, online. None that pop up with a Google search, anyway. Right now, I just need to know if an underage inpatient can refuse medication. If they won't stop crying for hours, can they refuse a pill or an IV to help them sleep? Does anyone know?

June, 10 2016 at 6:17 pm

I had to admit my 14 yo daughter today. She was sexually assaulted almost 2 years ago. We made it through the trial and sentencing. I thought we were on the upside of the slope. All the therapy sessions she went through did nothing for her. She is very depressed and seeks attention from the wrong people since the assault. Last night she cut herself. I knew then, as heartbreaking as it is, I needed to try to get her help. I feel guilty for admitting her. I know after hearing her answer the questions, she wouldn't be alive much longer. I keep imagining how awful it must be for her to be there. She has never been medicated for mental issues. I just hope she doesnt hate me more for sending her there.

July, 7 2016 at 8:40 pm

Hiya Tonya am sure she won't hate you. I have just admitted my 16 year old on Monday to the mental health unit . He has been self harming and talking about suicide he even went as far to research the quickest way to die (they thinking schizophrenic or bipolar he not been proper diagnosed yet but getting treated for it) . He is getting loads of support and the proper medication in the hospital Altho at the start it was if you loved me you wouldn't leave me here, why you doing this to me, he would text me begging me to take him home. (I wanted to take him home so desperate) Now I have noticed a difference in him already after 4 days, he is opening up about things more, things he didn't want to say as he knew it was hurting me. Altho it's heart breaking to see my son in the hospital I know that without him being there he probably wouldn't be here just now ( breaks my heart to even think about) . I know it's only just the start and we have a long road ahead of us but I am finally starting to see my son coming back to his old self. Keep fighting things will get better with love and support

August, 9 2016 at 4:31 am

Hello my name is Millie, I have a 16 year old daughter who is currently in a short term mental health facility. Maybe someone can help me figure out what I do next as I have no clue. I have been battling these mental health problems with her since she was 6 years old. In the beginning they told me that she was too young to be diagnosed with anything and they would not treat her, she is a normal child. They didn't see her tantrums, biting hitting kicking screaming and banging her head on the wall. Then time went on she had said her biological father sexually assaulted her, after some time and investigation with the police department she took back her accusation and the investigation stopped. I had been back and forth no one would help with her, she would grow out of it they said. At 8 years old she went to live with people we called her grandparents but we're not biologically related to her as there were services they could get her on if they had her in their care. After some trials she was finally diagnosed bipolar and had tried many meds but the best was risperdol. When she came for a visit in 2013 she begged me not to send her back with them. There were things said and done to her that were not good, she came back home to live permanently she was 13. She then told me again that her father did sexually abuse her and said she lied that he did not because she felt like a bad daughter. I started the investigation again on him and had gotten an order of protection to stay away from her. In this time my youngest daughter had said that Sheila my 16 year old had sexually assaulted her (orally). There was also an investigation going on with this. There was nothing legally done to my 16 year old then she was 14 to tell her that what she did was wrong, my youngest was living with her grandmother only because we were going through financial difficulties, we had planned on getting her back home until this happened, then I could not have my youngest in my home. There were several months that I was only able to see my youngest for short periods of time because Sheila could not be trusted. She was in and out of counseling, mental health outpatient thereopy intensive outpatient. None of these facilities had Sheila discuss what she did to her sister. After several months went by my youngest wanted to forgive Sheila(because she missed mommy and daddy). She would get to come back over now but never allowed to be alone with Sheila. Sheila has gotten older physically but still has a childlike mentality and is obsessed with sex. When we argue she has attempted to run away several times, and then when we argue she has switched from running to cutting at times been in and out of emergency holds that I force them to put her on as they don't believe she should be held because they in the ER believe her to be delightful. Because they see what she wants them to see. I have given them documentation let them know what she did to her sister, etc., and they are listening to her. At one hospital I refused to pick her up as I want her committed to get REAL help. The hospital said they would contact the police and have me charged with neglect. How am I neglecting her when I want help for her so I don't have to bury my child. Now she is in another facility on a hold for another suicide attempt and they are wanting me to pick her up on Wednesday 8/10/16 after only a few days. I am trying to get her the help she needs and I really don't want to pick her up as she will then be forgotten about again and this will all be for nothing. They say that I cannot commit her and they say that she has to agree to case management. Why does she have to agree. She's not an adult. At this point I am not going to go pick her up as this will prevent me from being a parent to my youngest and I believe they will be forced to help her. We are in MN and I would appreciate any feedback about what I could be facing by trying to force their hand at helping her. In 2 years she will be an adult and I will not be able to do anything I know how this will end, she will die or she will harm someone else and be locked up in jail. I am desperate I don't know what to do!


August, 16 2016 at 8:55 pm

Hi, my name is Angelina and I'm going to be 17 this week. Ive been dealing with depression and anxiety and bipolar disorder for quite some time now. When I was younger about the age of 5 I was sexually assaulted by my father's mother's boyfriend. My parents were never together, I was older enough to know that this wasn't right. That night my mom picked me up and I told her what happened and I haven't seen my father since. He has been on and off of drugs and in and out of jail etc. He hasn't tried to see me since or even come in contact with me and doesn't even pay for child support. About a year after my mom finding this out she met a guy who turned her onto all kinds of drugs.. So I moved in with my grandmother (mom's mom) and she raised me when I didn't have a father or mother anymore. I can go on and on about the past. Well, in 7th grade I started to harm myself. Ive been in therapy know for about 8 years. Ive been on COUNTLESS medications and multiple therapists just to find out what was right for me.. I abused my medicine and tried 2 times to OD on them, tried cutting my wrists, rebelled out.. I really think I need to be checked into somewhere.. My mother has been clean for about 4 years now so I am living with her. I'm very nervous to bring up about getting checked into somewhere..She knows I am dealing with a lot of stuff ontop of my mental illnesses and I just am hopeful for the best. I really think if I don't then I'm going to keep feeling this way, alone. Really need help and advice from anybody on what I should do concerning being checked into a hospital. Thank you

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
August, 17 2016 at 5:22 am

Hi Angelina,

I'm so sorry for everything you've been through. Because there are so many aspects of your history and mental health, though, it makes it pretty complicated (still treatable, though). If you're at the place where you're seriously cutting and trying or overdose, it sounds like you should be in a hospital.

I've been on a hospital, although not the children's ward, but I have visited the children's ward and it's nicer than the adult one by quite a bit. :) It's just a place where you can be safe and get the help you need.

Years ago, I _swore_ I would _never_ go to one of those places. But, in the end, when I needed one, I needed one. And I can tell you that many people find the hospital a positive turning point in their treatment.

What I'm saying is, it doesn't have to be a scary place.

If you have multiple options for where to go, you might want to check them out ahead of time and pick the one that you want.

This doable. You can get better.

- Natasha Tracy
- Blog Manager and "Breaking Bipolar" Author

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 14 2017 at 8:29 am

You are such a strong person for asking for help! I truly commend you for your courage.I wish my son would have done the same.
Instead, I have had to take him to the hospital multiple times for cutting, drug abuse, suicide attempts, etc. I even had to give him CPR
to save his life once and that moment has changed me as a mother and as a person forever.I will never be the same person I was before that day.
You have been through so much and you are still so young. You do have a bright future, and don't be afraid to ask for help. Please do it. As a mother, I wish my son would have asked me. I would do anything for my children. I would help them any way I could. All they have to do is tell me. Talk to me. Ask me. Something other than hurting themselves.
You have already shown courage by coming here and asking for advice. I wish you the best and I want you to know that help is out there. It may take time, but the right person or place is there to get you the help you need.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

June, 2 2017 at 2:03 pm

Angelina, have you googled your local chapter of NAMI - the National Association for Mental Illness. They have peer groups, workshops, etc. that you will most likely find helpful.

September, 24 2016 at 4:44 am

I have found this website in my search for help and support. My son is 16,almost 17,and is in a residential treatment facility for mental health. He is being treated for depression anger management and borderline personality disorder. He has expressed suicidal ideation, has cut in the past and has expressed homicidal ideation against myself his stepfather and others. His birth father exposed him to drugs and alcohol among other things when he was 13 to 16, until we found out about it and got full legal custody of him. He was supposed to come home from the residential treatment facility this past August but lied and manipulated to get his own way. He does not want to adhere to the rules we have at home , was upset that we would not let him go back to the high school he was going to( where he hang out hung out with a group of kids that cut). We had opted to send him to a smaller Charter School that would be familiar with his needs. Of course now he wants to live with his father where there are no rules and expectations and no support for his mental health treatment. The medication and treatment and counseling does not seem to be helping. The therapist recommended contacting Child Services because he won't be able to stay there much longer and he cannot return to our home out of fear and safety issues. I don't want to give up my rights as a parent but I want him to get the help he needs even if it means he is not here at home. You have expressed our desire for him to be able to control his mental illness, function as a member of society, go to school, find a job etc and he wants nothing to do with that. He has had mental health issues for most of his life but they really became evident after his father and I divorced and he was exposed to drugs and alcohol. His stepfather and I don't know where to turn or what to do. This is one of the hardest things as a parent I have had to face. I have been in touch with our local Mental Health Association and plan on going to a support group soon. It is good to know unfortunately that there are others out there struggling with the same issue.

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