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When Your Teen is Admitted to a Psychiatric Hospital

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.

You can find Christina on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.

APA Reference
Halli, C. (2014, November 23). When Your Teen is Admitted to a Psychiatric Hospital, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 22 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/parentingchildwithmentalillness/2014/11/what-to-expect-when-your-teen-is-admitted-to-the-psychiatric-hospital



Author: Christina Halli

O
says:
July, 4 2019 at 10:22 pm
Um, so I don't really know why I'm here. I've been through a lot, but so has everyone else. There's nothing significant about my struggles whatsoever but here I am. This isn't the first time I've had suicidal feelings and I'm assuming it won't be the last. I'm 15 now but I've lost most of my childhood and had to grow up way to fast and I realize that now. I've cut myself before, in 3 separate "durations" I guess. I've "attempted" suicide twice. I knew it wasn't likely that I would die, but I still did it. I just quit my newest therapist. I had her for a year but nothing she did seemed to make a difference. She started to seem more of a family friend judging me than someone helping. Yeah, I don't know how I got here. I made a list. I guess I tend to do that when I get like this. I made of list of the pros of if I live. It's short but meaningful. Every single one means something to me but I can't bring myself to feel anything positive towards it. I guess I just don't know what to do anymore.
July, 5 2019 at 8:51 am
Hi O,

I'm sorry you're going through that. I want to know that while "everyone else" may have been through struggles, that doesn't make yours any less real and it also doesn't mean they aren't significant. Comparing yourself to others in that way isn't useful. Your pain is real and deserves to be taken seriously.

What you're describing here is a dangerous situation. You seem quite desperate. I'm sorry your last therapist didn't help but there's one thing I know, you need to reach out, and reach out, and reach out until you find the help you need. Maybe a doctor is a better person for your to see right now,

Hold onto your list and keep asking for help. You can do this. And see our list of hotlines and resources here: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources

And remember, you don't have to be suicidal to call a helpline.

- Natasha Tracy
- Breaking Bipolar
- Blog Manager
Halie Davis
says:
September, 20 2018 at 8:51 am
I'm 15 years old and I've been hospitalized once and almost twice for suicide. Once was I tried to overdose and the second time my mom noticed my cuts on my arm and took me to the ER. I was going to be admitted into the psych ward if I had any suicidal thoughts. But I lied so I could go home, I don't know what to do because I want to die so bad but if I live I won't ever be allowed to hang out with anyone and I will only be allowed to leave my house for school or my families events.
What do I do, I almost killed my self last night.
Help
September, 21 2018 at 10:54 am
I'm so sorry, Halie. These are tough feelings to have to carry. I've been there myself. Please call for help! Call any adult you trust, but if you're not comfortable doing that, please call a crisis line or a help line. Call 911 if you need to. I don't know where you live, so I'll give you a list of numbers here: https://www.healthyplace.com/suicide/suicide-hotline-phone-numbers

You can even text some of those numbers if you're not comfortable talking out loud. I know it's hard, but if you need to go to the hospital, please go. It feels hopeless now, but when we're suicidal, sometimes our brains just can't see the future very well. Our brains wanna see only dark and not the hopeful possibilities. Get help, and tell those people your fears about not being able to hang out with anyone or go to school. Being safe doesn't mean have to mean having no social life. People want to help. They want to make sure you never get to that dark place again, so be as open with them as possible.
Haylee
says:
June, 22 2018 at 10:43 pm
Hi I’m haylee I’m 14 and I’ve been diagnosed with atipical depression and I’m on meds but I’ve been very suicidal latley And I talk to my friends about how I’ve been felling and one of them said I need to tell my parents that I’m suicidal but I don’t know how to and I’ve been thinking I should go to a psychiatric hospital what should I do about me wanting to go to the hospital
Anonymouse
says:
April, 22 2018 at 6:10 pm
Hello, I am a teenager who was admitted to a behavioral hospital 2 times. For depression,anger,homicidal thoughts and such. The hospital I went to [moderated] was not good. It made me more angry where I went to a partial day program at another hospital which helped me so much. But the impatient I went to had 1 hour of school with 3 meals a day but not great instruction and in my opinion I don’t think that it helped me with all the stuff they gave me. There were many fights and such and it was an uncomfortable situations. The beds were worse than the rubber covers on school bus seats with not good blankets, leaving me restless all night with the medicine they gave me that makes me go to sleep. I don’t like hospitals at all
Maggie
says:
April, 6 2018 at 1:55 am
Hi Susan,
My 13 year old son was admitted to a mental home 2 days ago. He is a very sweet and gentle person. When I visited him yesterday, he was upset because in one of his group therapy, they were tee talking about violence, killing by accident and so on. Things like that makes him very nervous. Also, there were other kids on the hallway crying. It was very depressing being there. I decided to take him there because he was having suicidal thoughts and told me that he was afraid of his own mind. Other than that, he is not violent or anything like that. I really want to revoke my consent to keep him in there because I really feel that facility it's getting him worse. But I don't know what my rights are.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Susan Traugh
says:
April, 6 2018 at 6:12 pm
Hi Maggie,

What an uncomfortable position to be in! I'm so sorry for you and your son. I do not know what your rights are but suggest that you may want to check out one of these resources. "211" is a distribution line on your telephone for health and human services. You can call them 24/7 and somebody can provide you with information regarding the services in your area. NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) is another good resource for information you may want to seek out. You can find the number for them on the "Resources" page here at the HealthyPlace.com site. A few phone calls might help you educate yourself as to your rights and options. In the meantime, my heart goes out to both you and your son.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Bobby
says:
April, 12 2018 at 7:26 am
I've been trying to get my adopted son help he has a slew of issues adha bi polar rad and others he has been addmitted alot over a year now the state says if I admit him again they are taking him from me how the heck is this possible I only want to help him and if I lose my son I lose my world so heart breaking

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 22 2018 at 12:12 pm
That does seem like a strange response from the state, Bobby! I'm not sure where you live, but I would call your mental health ombudsman. That person is a neutral party who will help you advocate for your child's mental health needs. They know how the system works, and they can make sure service providers aren't mistreating or neglecting your son's mental health needs. I'm not sure if you work with an adoption social worker or have other supports in place, too, but I would also talk to them. Legal Aid is free for legal advice, too. If you don't already have a children's mental health case manager, call up your county and see if you can get your son connected. It doesn't seem right to me that a parent would be punished for getting the child the help they need, but I don't know the entire situation or how laws work where you're at. So definitely seek out legal advice, the ombudsman, or service providers like social workers or case managers who can advocate.
Izack James Carrier
says:
April, 1 2018 at 5:44 pm
Our grandson is not getting help, suicidal & he has just lost his Dad in Jan

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 1 2018 at 7:28 pm
I'm so sorry to hear this. I hope that there are crisis teams in your area. If not, there's also the Suicide Hotline. As a worried family member, you can also call it to ask for help on how to manage the situation. Here is Healthy Place's website with piles of numbers and resources you can possibly use:

https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/suicide/suicide-suicidal-thoughts-and-behaviors-toc/

As always, you can also call 911 and request assistance if you feel like your grandson is at risk of harming himself or someone else. The police can put him on a transport hold and take him to the hospital for assessment, too. Good luck to you and your family. I hope your grandson finds the help he needs.
Ariane
says:
March, 22 2018 at 8:33 am
I'd appreciate some help with things to talk about with my 15-year old son during our hour of visitation. I drive 1.5 hours each way to see him and want the visits to be less awkward. Thank you.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Susan Traugh
says:
March, 22 2018 at 10:56 am
Hi Arlane,
You're right, those awkward silences can be unnerving for both you and your son, but with a little planning, you can get past that. My girls did not want to talk about the facility, their treatment, or being in the hospital. Most kids don't. So find something outside your son's current reality to talk about. What does he like to do? Does he skateboard, play sports, watch video games, enjoy movies? Download a few articles on those things to talk about what's going on in the fields he likes. My girls had also learned a few card games while in the hospital and I had them teach them to me (or you might teach one to him)--we had quite a few laughs while I fumbled through the rules of a new game. We also planned an imaginary family vacation to a destination my child had once told me she wanted to go. I stopped at a motel lobby on my drive to meet my daughter and grabbed hotel fliers, amusement park pages and the like (they're usually free in the lobby) and my daughter tried to see how expensive and outrageous she could make the trip.. (After one hospitalization, my daughter and I actually took a side-trip to "live" one of her desires from that dream vacation--a night in Las Vegas. We were broke, but for $75 we stayed at the Luxor, shared a hamburger dinner and I threw a quarter in the slot machine for her. We had a blast.) My husband was big on dad-jokes. When he would visit he would shamelessly start with one joke after another. My daughter would groan and complain in the beginning, but soon be throwing barbs back until, finally, we were all conversing freely. You know your son and your family dynamics. Use your strong suits to help him open up and dream. After a few awkward starts, I now remember visits as one of the times my girls and I bonded more closely. Good luck to you.
Cheryl
says:
March, 8 2018 at 1:57 pm
17 year old grandson needs help

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Cheryl
says:
March, 8 2018 at 2:01 pm
My friends 17 year old grandson just tried to commit suicide by taking all of his bipolar meds and ended up in the hospital. The hospital wants to admit him to their psyc ward but her insurance wont pay for it. Hospital says shes responsible as she is his guardian. She doesn't have the money. Can you give me some ideas on how she can pay for his inpatient treatment? Thank you.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 9 2018 at 12:24 pm
What an awful series of events. It's even worse when the system fails us and insurance won't help out. It might be worth looking into something like Medicaid. When someone is under 18, there are different programs (based on each state) for kids who need insurance. I'd highly recommend calling the county human services office and asking for assistance in the area of children's mental health. They should be able to direct you to the right place. Otherwise, some hospitals also do payment plans or, based on income, may even have grants. Good luck!
Ken Mcfarland
says:
March, 7 2018 at 11:11 pm
Hi my name is Ken recently my son was diagnosed about a year and a half ago with a mental illness in about three weeks ago he had a mental break down and when he has these breakdowns he has a mentality of a puppy and a five-year-old what you don't understand what's going on around him and I'm just like a five-year-old would normally would do so I called 911 everything else cause I was going out-of-control need your coffee cup at me and bust my head open which I didn't care he didn't really hurt me that bad because you could see was confused on what was going on around him and I'm gonna place and everything got here he didn't know what was going on with what they wanted them for anything that he didn't understand what they were saying to Madame and I love you have a five-year-old you don't understand what they want to what they're doing to you sorry was fighting a little bit and refused to go with him so he did it a couple cops and I didn't retaliate off of it of them trying to touch him or anything is it understand what was going on at this point so they took him to the emergency room assessed him then I had him arrested thrown in jail and then I had to go to court and play the 5042 incompetent to stand trial and we agreed with the judge let them go ahead up a 30 day evaluation as it was court ordered by the judge so you can get that evaluation and then in the meantime in there we got the lawyer form and everything else and I was part of everything and I left that though and they press charges saying it was me to press charges if they picked up the charges then they made him sign paperwork saying you're no longer to go to your fathers house you're not in a lot of contact with your dad but I meant to leave a five-year-old he don't even know how to use a phone call the facility to take him to say he's obligated to have visitors and talk to you but he's got to pick up the phone and called me to give me a code so I know the code when I go visit them but if you got mentality of a five-year-old how do you pick up the phone and call somebody I have no contact with him for a test five weeks don't even know what they're doing to them and as a parent it's really harmful help

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Susan Traugh
says:
March, 8 2018 at 8:43 pm
Dear Ken,
I'm so sorry to hear about all the troubles you're having with your son. This has got to be so difficult for you. While it has to be agony to be separated from him, at least you know that he is being evaluated and is safe right now. Can you contact the lawyer who gave you the paperwork and find out what you next step is? You may also want to call NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) in your area and see if they can't direct you to the support you need. You can find the contact information for NAMI on this HealthyPlace.com website in the "Resource" section of the website. NAMI may have answers for you about how to best help your son now or groups that can provide you someone to talk to so that you don't have to go through this by yourself. In the meantime, I'm sending my best thoughts to you and your son that they will set up a plan to help him.
Vanessa
says:
February, 25 2018 at 10:39 pm
This is so helpful hearing diffrent family. Im a mom and i fill like i havent slept . My sons like a rollercoaster and im on it. Doctors psychiatrist psychologist im always bisy counselor. I have 2 other boys and i fill like super mom. Im trying and wont give up trying to help my son.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Susan Traugh
says:
February, 26 2018 at 6:53 pm
You sound like a caring and determined mom, Vanessa. I wish you the best in your journey with your son and am glad that you find HealthyPlace.com so helpful.
ROBERT SALAS
says:
February, 24 2018 at 11:55 am
PLEASE HELP ME, I was at work when i got a call from my wife statin the cops were are the door because my 13 year old try to comite suicide.
I was so confused what did i miss how could this happen no way, everyone including my wife were talking suicide. mean wile im talking to my daughter and listening trying to understand what happened by the time i realised it was attention and she couldnt be more clearly as why she felt that way. the last 14 months have been real though I have had 3 surgeries 1 hospitalized for a moth almost died and because we are new to Texas we had no were or noone we could drop or daughter of with so she witnnessed all of it. but ever since I have been in n out of the hospital, My oldest boy left to the ARMY and My oldesrt Daughter to school in new york. its clearly why she felt lonely. by the time I was 100% sure she wasnt in dangare It was to late she is in the mental facility and I can get her out.
THEY HAVE OFFERED HER DEPRESION DRUGS
SHE IS NOW SURROUNDED BY KIDS THAT HAVE REAL ISSUES
HOW DO I GET HER OUT KNOW

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Susan Traugh
says:
March, 3 2018 at 2:00 pm
I'm so sorry to hear about all your troubles, Robert Salas. I'm sure by now your daughter has been released from care as they usually only hold people for 72 hours. And, while being hospitalized is very traumatic for both your daughter and your whole family, it is good that her cry for help has been addressed. You may well be right that she is just crying out for attention, but just in case she is not, it's good that the medical profession is looking at her. You would hate for her to make another attempt. Have your contacted your local NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) group for information or support? This organization offers wonderful services for your daughter and you. You can find the number on the Resource page of the HealthyPlace.com website. I wish you and your daughter healing.
Jessica
says:
January, 25 2018 at 11:18 pm
My son was involuntarily committed on Tuesday when his grief, depression (chronic) and suicidial idealization hit a peak 7 days after the suicide of his close friend.. He made a comment to friend at school that no one would even noticed if he committed suicide and the next thing we new he was in 5150'ed. When he was initially held and committed he was beside himself and begging to go home. It took them 17 hours to find him a bed at an adolcent facility but things where sure different at the children's center.. When I drove out -nearly a 2 hour drive from my home- to the hospital to visit him the next day it was so bizarre it was like a scene from a movie. He said he didn't want to see me-i was embarrassing him in front of his new friends-the other patients. He said, and I nearly fell over when I heard this, that he really liked it there and wanted to stay beyond the 72 hour hold. He mentioned that most people got to stay longer and he could even do another 14 days. What the hell was going on here. I made it clear that the hospital was a short term thing to stablize people and not a place to stay. I told him about all the important things that he would miss, and other things that wouldn't be available to him as a person with a long term hospitalization -for instance it would be reccomend that he not be allowed to drive or use electronics when he got out for a minimum of 45 days and he would miss so much school work he would be likely to fail his classes and spend his whole summer in summer school.. I felt like I was bribing him to get better and to want to leave the hospital. He finally agreed that he probably shouldn't keep trying to stay there. My big fear now is that since he likes going to the hospital so is he just going to try and get send back every time life gets tough? What do I do with this? I have never heard of kids liking being institutionalized.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Susan Traugh
says:
January, 26 2018 at 10:33 am
Hi Jessica,
I'm so sorry to hear your distress and bewilderment, but am glad that you found some help for your son. My daughter suffers from acute bipolar disorder. Her mood swings would go from manias where she stole money and cars and did all manner of destruction to depressive/suicidal episodes that would land her in the hospital. Like you, my main goal was to get my child home, safe with me, and away from those "awful" hospitals. Yet, every time we turned around, she was back in crisis. One day I threatened her, saying that if she didn't get it together, the next step would be a residential facility for a year. She turned and looked at me and said, "But, Mom, don't you get it? That's exactly where I belong. Do you have any idea how scary it is in my brain?" We put her in and it was the best/worst decision I've ever made. It broke my heart and shook my foundation about what kind of mother I was that I couldn't raise my own kid. But, it changed my daughter's life. She later said that she knows she would be dead without residential. Kids know. They often understand first how very ill they are. Your son may like the fact that he feels safe, can talk about his problems with professionals, and is surrounded by other people who are in the same boat. All the things my daughter gave up to be institutionalized are small potatoes compared to the tools she acquired to live a productive life, the insight we got into the meds/lifestyle she needed, and the resolve she built to come out and manage her mental illness. She's now finished up a certificate program in college, has a career, is engaged to a stable man and is doing so well. Your son may not need to be hospitalized again. But, he might. You may want to explore with him, in therapy, why he likes the hospital and determine if he's crying out for more help or simply trying to avoid responsibility. NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) is a national group that offers lots of free education and support groups for families. You might want to contact them to see what services are in your area. (Look at the "Resources" page on this site for NAMI's contact information and more sources of help.) In the meantime, I wish you well on your journey with your son.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Jessica
says:
January, 27 2018 at 4:09 pm
Well he was supposed to be released today-everyone said he was well enough to go home. He had been well in the hospital. But then he refused to go home. Railed on and on about how horrible I am and how he doesn't want to live with me. I know it bologna - when he gets worked up he says all kinds of things that aren't true and don't even make logical sense so I'm used to it. The doctor and social worker and I all realized that he seemed to think that it was fun in the hosipital away from school and stress and responsibilities like a vacation. Deep down he is terrified of going back to school and terrified of going to the partial hospitalization program that he going to be attending. He feels good where he is and he doesn't want anything to change so he was going to say or do anything to get his way to stay right where he was. Ugh. They told me that it's not that uncommon so I am writing so anyone who is going through a similar situation can know that you are not alone. We had to change his circumstances so that he didn't enjoy himself quite so much so that he will want to leave, he needs to feel discomfort to prompt him to want to leave. By the time I left and he knew his circumstances and level of comfort and privileges had changed he was already begging to go home. Hopefully I will be taking him home tomorrow.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Jessica
says:
January, 29 2018 at 7:53 am
Just an update for anyone who is wondering-He told his psychiatrist that he just feels safe there and he wants to be somewhere that the other kids dont bully him. He said he felt better but still felt so afraid to go back to school and too afraid of the unknown. What would his partial hospitalization school be like, what if all the people there were mean. What about when he had to go to his real school, he felt certain everyone was going to bully him. He just likes being somewhere that was calm, controlled, full of nice kids. He was willing to go home-no more being remanded to his room with no privileges. I can kind of see how it would be nice, after feeling so out of control and so low, to be somewhere so in control where everyone was really nice and supportive all the time. But he didn't need to be hospitalized-he wasn't a threat and he wasn't out of control. He needs to do the hard work to get better and move on from the hospital. Hopefully he will.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Bryan Lewis
says:
February, 9 2018 at 12:45 pm
[moderated] you parents think you know everything but y'all really don't understand what goes in the heads of your children so literally stop

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Vanessa
says:
February, 25 2018 at 10:19 pm
What hospital was he admitted to im teying to find a place for my son
Sarah frederick
says:
January, 18 2018 at 11:04 pm
Hello i am a single mother of 11 year old twin girls one has adhd and other behavioural issues the other has an eatting disorder and tried 2 times to commit suicide aslo has odd as a result i cant leave them home after scholl while i work nor can i get childcare . i have just lost my job soon my housing does anyone know of any programs that can help me financially to keep housing and live while i am home suppourting my kids through this i live in california and cant go on the streeets with them we r in need of immidiate help

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 19 2018 at 3:05 am
That’s a lot to go through, Sarah. I’m sorry to hear that. It may help to call your local county human services department. They may be able to help you with the financial, housing, and basic resources you could use at this time. Also try United Way 211 (https://www.unitedwaysca.org/our-work/2-1-1-resources).

Meanwhile, if you need your own mental health support through this, or you’re concerned one of your children may try again to end her life, here are some hotline resources, too: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/resources/mental-health-hotline-numbers-and-referral-resources/
October, 25 2017 at 9:06 am
Dear RSmith,

I am so sorry that you are in such pain. You ask the $64,000 question: how do we know? Isn't that it? How do we know if we're doing the right thing? How do we know if this is the right treatment? You can second guess yourself until you go crazy.

I think the answer is to trust ourselves. To trust that gut feeling. And, to trust the support system that we build around our children. That's what you're doing right now. Then the good news is that you don't have to answer those questions alone.

Before they admit your daughter, they will do an intake consultation. Tell them your fears. My girls have each been admitted to psychiatric hospitals a number of times. (And when that happens, you know your child is safe and getting the help she needs.) And, sometimes, they haven't. One time I was unsure if my daughter was so ill that she needed to be admitted, but her suicidal thoughts made me error on the side of caution. Yet, when we got to the hospital, she was better. We all talked about how best to treat her and decided not to admit her. Instead, we had her sign a safety contract (or, a written promise that she would not harm herself and what help she would take if she felt like it.) We made an appointment with her psychiatrist for the next day, she called her therapist and we put her into an Intensive Out-Patient program so she could learn coping skills. My point is you don't have to do this all alone. There is a team of professionals who can help you make the decision that feels right.

But, while your daughter is getting the help she needs, who is taking care of you? You need support too, Mama. Whether it is through friends, or a therapist, or NAMI meetings (see the Resources section on HealthyPlace.com for references) or hotlines, make sure you take care of yourself. You're right. You are the glue. And, clearly, every member of your family needs you.

Take care of yourself over these next few days, and I send my best wishes to you and all your family that things will get better.
Rocio colon
says:
December, 16 2017 at 8:01 pm
Is

I am here trying to keep my own head together my baby my youngest child was hospitalized on Monday night .
Part of me wants her home with me so I can protect her against the world .
Part of feels afraid that she will try to harm her self again .
I don't really have support that we need my other daughter's have their own lives and my fiance well he is judgemental.
I am lost I hate to see her in that place where is cold and her face expressions worry me .

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

December, 18 2017 at 11:21 am
Dear Rocio,

I'm so sorry you are struggling so. I do understand your pain. When I drove away from hospitalizing my daughter, I felt like someone had just cut off my right arm. The loss and pain were palpable. As parents, our gut reaction is to take our child and pull her close and love the problem away. But, I can hear that the other part of you knows that your daughter needs to be in a place where people are trained to protect her and support her as she tries to get well. No one wants to put their baby in an institutional setting, but sometimes that sacrifice on our part is necessary to help our babies. That said, your child is not the only one suffering. In its own way, this is just as hard on you and you, too, need support and help to get well from the trauma you've suffered alongside your daughter. Unfortunately, very often our family and friends cannot be the ones to help. They don't understand what's going on, or have their own issues that get in the way of supporting you. It's not uncommon. Instead, call your local NAMI chapter (National Alliance of Mental Illness). They have support groups and parenting classes all geared to families facing mental illness. If you can afford it, find a therapist for yourself. There were times that I swear my therapist saved my life as I struggled with the pain of my daughter's hospitalizations. Not only did he get me through our separation, but he also prepared me to deal with my daughter when she returned home and that was very valuable to me. Finally, try to find an online support group or contact or two at a NAMI meeting. Talking to people in your same place can really help ease your pain while your daughter is hospitalized and when she comes home. You did the right thing, Rocio. Your daughter is safe. She won't like being in the hospital, but it will help begin to give her the tools she needs to deal with her situation. Like surgery, or chemo, or any other painful treatment needed to make sick people well, remind yourself that this is a major step to mental health and finding a way to cope with your child's illness. You will be in my thoughts.
R.Smith
says:
October, 24 2017 at 7:02 pm
Hello, I am currently breaking down as typing this...my 15 year old daughter has been diagnosed with depression )her biological father committed suicide and her adoptive father was blown up in a chemical plant explosion, although and by the grace of God he survived our world was turned upside down.) My daughter started getting into trouble only to come out and say she was depressed, she mentioned last night and again today thoughts of cutting herself but that she didn't want to do it. Her psychiatrist says it's pretty much up to us whether to admit or not; at first he thought she was trying to guilt and manipulate me when she got in trouble but he became more concerned that my fear of losing her or her hurting herself is going f to send me into a nervous breakdown; I can barely function now due to the paralyzingly anxiety and fear so he suggested it may be best to admit her in the morning. She is begging not to go (last night she actually agreed to go to the ER after admitting a supposed one time only thought of cutting, we went and were discharged with a "follow up with her psych. she should be ok". I don't know what to do; I am literally having heart complications (I have two heart conditions) from the fear, anxiety, terror, and heartbreak for my child- I cannot lose her; losin her bio dad nearly killed me! But how do I know what is best? Once she calmed down after getting busted doing something she was grounded from she was fine asand saying she never ways to do anything g to hurt us or cause us pain but she feels like a failure because she keeps getting in trouble and doesn't like disappointing us- her 8 year old little sister with PTSD, Anxiety disorder, Panic disorder, adjustment disorder, and separation anxiety had a breakdown tonight and said she could not live without her sister and just cried and held onto and hugged her big sister for dear life. What do I do??! She swears she doesn't want to die at all; she doesn't WANT to hurt herself but she felt the disappointment she caused us was so painful for her she thought maybe she should be punished. She said this one and only time was 3 weeks ago but again, tonight when she got caught she made the comment "I should have just done it, should have just hurt myself". What do I do, how do I keep both my kids healthy and safe, how do I know if she seriously wants (or wanted) to hurt herself on impulse or is she just trying to manipulate me into feeling bad when she gets caught? How do I make the choice to continue medication and therapy for the time being or admit her in the morning? She has been on 10mg Lexapro for approx. 6 weeks and it was increased to 15mg by her psychiatrist today after the ET follow up from last night and then tonight was when the new "event" took place. Is this even enough time for the original dose to be I bher system? I know I am all over the place; I apologize. I am a scared basket case whom doesn't even know where to begin or end with this comment/search for advice; I am a basket saw who has not slept in 48 hours watching every move she makes out of pure fear. I do not want to leave my child with strangers at a hospital; I cannot handle my little girl breaking down on her birthday week because her sister is going bye-bye for who knows how long....is it necessary at this point? Can the meds still help without being admitted? Is it cause to be admitted? If so, how do I do this and not fall apart or break- I am the glue between my disabled hubby and two kids- Help, please

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

BethFowler
says:
January, 14 2018 at 12:21 pm
I have a 16-year-old in the state of Virginia who is in a mental institution now she still says she’s going to kill herself when she gets out in three days the only thing they say I can do is just sign it over to foster care is that true?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 15 2018 at 6:22 am
That's such a scary thing to hear from your child! Have you reported her plans to the staff at the facility? I'm not sure what type of place it is, but if it's impatient treatment and she's actively stating she's going to harm herself, they are likely to keep her longer until she's stable. If that's not their purpose, then maybe you can advocate that they send her to the hospital immediately so that she can be assessed there and possibly admitted to the psychiatric unit until they can help her manage the suicidal thoughts. I otherwise don't know the Virginia system well and couldn't say if foster care is the only option for her. Otherwise, it looks like Virginia has a Mental Health advocacy group that might be able to help you answer your questions. It's at least a good place to start in your search for help for your daughter! https://mhav.org Virginia also has the National Alliance on Mental Illness who would know resources for your area, too: https://namivirginia.org/

Good luck! I hope your daughter stays safe.
Jessica Weaver
says:
March, 1 2018 at 8:55 pm
I need help my eleven-year-old told her counselor when she got home she was going to commit suicide. They had me come get her from school and they followed me to our local emergency room. She told the nurse at the front desk while she was there the two ladies that followed us to the hospital left as soon as they took us back. The room were in the whole time had a camera and guards outside the door my daughter was visited by a nurse who established himself as a nurse not a nurse practitioner in or a doctor he was just there to see if you could get her anyting. Fast forward six hours later they told me she was a 10:40 or some kind of number like that I had no rights they took her by ambulance to a psychiatric ward an hour and 40 minutes away from me and my husband. How can someone be determined that they need to go to a psychiatric ward we only the school counselor I spoke with them? Please someone reach out to me and my husband no one will answer any of her questions at the hospital where she's at or the hospital that sent her there however I do know the name of the doctor that signed the orders.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

March, 5 2018 at 9:29 am
This can be such a scary event! As a parent, it's chaotic. My son also declared he was going to end his life, but he did it in front of the ER staff, nurses, etc so, by the time he did calm down the next day, it was too late to leave. He was on a "hold". I don't know the rules in your area, but my guess is a 1040 is a "hold". When someone is determined to be a danger to themselves or others, most places have a statute that states the hospital can hold that person against their will until deemed safe. In my state, that's 3 days unless a court order/commitment is in place. In New York, it's upwards of 15 days involuntary hospitalization. It varies. Often, too, providers err on the side of caution, especially when it comes to children, and so it might seem like overkill to you for them to have involuntarily hospitalized your daughter, but it felt like the safest option to the providers. Most places, too, have such underfunded mental health systems that kids get driven to hospitals far away. My son almost ended up in an entirely different state when he was placed on a hold because there were no intensive psych beds in our own state available (he needed a psych ICU because he was also physically assaultive to others).

I'd also recommend reaching out to the mental health ombudsman or to an organization like NAMI (nami.org) if you feel like your daughter's rights and your rights are being violated. These things are so particular to each state, city, county, etc., that you'd need to speak to someone in your area. Googling "ombudsman" and your county or city may help you find that person. Ombudsman navigate these tough situations and make sure people's rights are considered in the process.

Good luck! I hope your daughter is safe, and I'm sorry this encounter with the mental health system was so hard!
Temmy
says:
October, 5 2017 at 1:23 am
My daughter was admitted to adolescents psychiatrist hospital yesterday. I am scared. She just 13 years old. Look like she is one of a few youngest girl there. The scene where she is at scared me to death. She is diagnosed with sucidal ideation. She is depressed with peer pressure, meet expectations, feeling of wanting to be normal like friends because she has learning disability. She is afraid that her friend know of her LD. She wants to get good grades, go to top high school that her friends planning to go. Unfortunately she can't cope with this pressure. She becomes depress and find way to relieve stress by ccutting (scar) her wrists and took any medication she could find in the house. She was admitted in ER on Saturday but release. When she was home, everything was back to normal like went to school. Do sport but she still wrote to her friends that she still wants to self harm and that she got adicted to do hself-harm.
I am not sure I am pleased with our decision to hospitalize her. I know she is safe there, but I worry the medication (sleeping pills they gave and the kids who have different mental illness in the same unit.
I am scared that she will be there for a long time.
We are waiting for hospital psychiatrist to call to tell us which medication she will take!
I am wondering whether we should agree or disagree with medication they want tp give her.
We have to wait for 6pm to visit her.
I know I have to take care of myself (I have hypertension and now it's very high) but I can't help to worry about her. I can't sleep for 6 days.
I feel guilty not knowing this early to help her. I feel scare to have her at home but worry her well-being when she is in hospital. She is so young! Why she has to go through this! Please help me to understand that the hospital is the good place for her safety and she will be home soon. I will do anything to make her happy, safe. Thamks a lot.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 5 2017 at 9:55 am
I'm so sorry for your suffering, Temmy. I'm Susan Traugh, another author at HealthyPlace.com. Putting my daughter into a psychiatric hospital for the first time felt like cutting off my right arm. I couldn't stop feeling afraid, or that I had failed my child in some way. I remember how terrified I was to leave my child with strangers in a place that felt so overwhelming and scary. But, you did the right thing. Your child will be safe there until they can regulate her meds and come up with a plan. (Chances are she will not stay very long before they want to release her or move her to a different facility.) I will warn you that she will not like the place and try to talk you into taking her out. She is having to confront her illness in a way she probably hasn't done before and it will make her uncomfortable. She will be under strict rules of behavior that she may not like. (But, remember, these rules also apply to all the other patients and will keep your child safe.) Despite the scariness, discomfort and trauma of a hospitalization, I believe it is the first step to wholeness and wellness. Remember, your child is a minor and you are part of her treatment team. If she has a regular psychiatrist, you can call her or him to coordinate care. If not, you may want to bounce things off your pediatrician if that will make you feel more comfortable. Again, this site has resources to check out meds and educate yourself on diagnoses. Education is power. Both of my daughters were hospitalized a number of times for their mental illness. My youngest had to stay in a residential facility for a year. It was one of the worst years of my life. But, it was worth it when my daughter said, "Mom, going to residential was the worst thing that every happened to me--but it changed, and saved, my life and I'm so happy that you did it." That child has graduated a certificate program at college and is working her first job. She is happy and healthy and functioning. She has a nice group of friends. (My other daughter is now working as a preschool teacher.) You and your daughter have a rough patch ahead of you as you work together to get her the help and support she needs to deal with her mental illness. Keep reaching out to places like HealthyPlace. Check out the resources page on this site to find a support group for yourself. I couldn't have made it without other wise women who were going through the same things I was. You are right to know you need to take care of yourself. Don't forget to do that every day. Don't lose hope. You have reached out to find resources for your daughter; you are finding resources for yourself. Keep doing what you're doing. You're on the right track. I'm sending good thoughts for you and your child.
Temmy
says:
October, 7 2017 at 4:19 pm
Dear Susan,
Thank you so much for your support and kind words.
My daughter took med and looks happier today.
My husband and I visited her every day .
Please tell me what we should do during the visiting (2hrs) we play cards, talked eat and....don't know what else to say or do. Today I visited her twice , afternoon and evening. In the evening we came for 1.5 hr. After eating, we don't know whatelse to do because she doesn't want to play card any more. And the girls(patient) next to us keeping crying and complaining so I told them to move somewhere else, but no where else to sit. Luckily she said she wanted to take a shower but hesitated to do it because we still were here. I encouraged her to go taking a shower and waited for her.
She looked happier today. Her med side effect is gone ( no more headache) .it looked like the med does the trick, relieve the depression. Gradually she will feel a lot better and will be discharged and resume her normal life?
Thamks everyone for posting your experinses

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 8 2017 at 6:13 pm
Hi Temmy,

I'm so glad to hear such good news about your daughter! It sounds like you're all on the right track.

Might I suggest coloring books? (You know, the intricate, adult coloring books that are so popular now?) My girls and I liked them because they let us do something while we talked. We tried to finish a picture together during the visit. I also brought in catalogs so that we could dream aloud about the future we would make together. (Once, when my girl needed a new therapist, I printed out the list with pictures and we "interviewed" each bio to see who we thought would be a good fit.)

But future plans are important. You, your husband, and your daughter will need a plan when she comes out. What can you do to create a support system? What safeguards can be created so you don't end up back in this place again? What dreams can you aspire to so that your daughter has the sense that she is doing something concrete to move her life forward?

You have the luxury of intermission in this life-play. This is a time when you can assess where you're at and make adjustments for the happy ending you are shooting for. You know the pitfalls now. So, now's the time to fortify yourselves and plan so that you don't fall into the same trap again.

For my girls and me, hospital visits were the time for us to dream and plan and assess. Our conversations were gentle and productive. And we usually emerged on the same page about how we were going to keep them out of the hospital again.

Finally, yes, she will gradually resume a normal or new-normal life. Just remember "gradual" is the key word here. You child has been very ill, and like any other organ's illness, her brain will need some time to recuperate.

I wish you all the best on your journey. This might sound weird, but I feel blessed by my girls' mental illness. Over the years we've been able to have a much deeper, more honest and game-free relationship with each other--a relationship that we might have been too-busy or too-distracted to engage in otherwise. My thoughts are with your family that you experience the small blessings of your current experiences.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Jess
says:
October, 17 2017 at 11:08 am
Hi Temmy,
I am so sorry for what you are going through. I had to admit my 12 very old daughter on 10/6/17. I very much had the same feelings as you. Having my 12 year old admitted into a hospital that was primarily older teenagers was very concerning for me. But, there was nothing I could do, and I just had to trust the process.

Hearing that my daughter was planning on suicide broke me. She was admitted to the Mental Health hospital for 5 days. We were only allowed to visit her for 30 minutes in the evening. The hospital was 2.5 hours away from where we live, but my husband and I made the drive there every night.

I knew my daughter was struggling but I was unable to see how badly. She has always been an amazingly bright person who lights up every room. Seeing her light dim has been extremely difficult. We opted to put her on Lexapro, and so far it has been good.

I myself have struggled with pretty significant depression and anxiety, and I am definitely struggling right now. I am trying to keep moving forward with "normal life" however, I can feel myself slipping closer and closer into depression. I begin my own therapy next week, and as a family we begin therapy as well.

Just know that you are not alone.

Xoxo- Jess

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 23 2017 at 1:51 pm
Dear Jess,

I so appreciate you reaching out to Temmy on this site. Especially when we are immersed in the daunting struggles of our children's mental illness, we can feel so alone and isolated. It can feel life-saving to hear from others who are walking a similar path.

I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter. Our desire to protect our children is great and being so far away from your child can be heartbreaking. I'm not surprised to hear that you are struggling with depression and anxiety yourself. I know whenever I put one of my girls into the hospital depression sits on my shoulder. However, I'm glad to hear that you are beginning therapy next week. We mamas have to make sure we get the support we need also.

I wish you the best in your journey and, again, thank you for reaching out.
Dawn
says:
October, 3 2017 at 2:12 pm
Wish I knew what to do for my 19 year old daughter. She was admitted to the hospital today. Since she is over 18 I don’t get the same information as adolescents. I am at a loss.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 3 2017 at 3:06 pm
It's possible to still be part of her treatment team. If she's taking visitors, or will talk to her over the phone, ask her to sign a release of information. You can call the hospital and ask them to have her fill one out, too. They can always take info from you even if they can't provide you info. It's worth a try. Otherwise, always feel free to talk to your local NAMI. They are very good advocates for families of people with mental illnesses.
Dawn
says:
October, 3 2017 at 5:32 pm
I am on her list to receive information and I have gotten some information from them I just feel like I’m not going to be kept up on things. Th hospital she is at is about an hour away. She is in college about an hour and a half a way and that was the closest hospital to the school. She is allowed to make phone calls if she wants and they said the would let her know I called. As for now I guess I just wait. The visitation is on twice during the week and one time each day on Saturday and Sunday. And sorry I do not know what NAMI stands for.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

October, 4 2017 at 5:06 pm
NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness. If you go to the following link, it can connect you to your local chapter:

https://www.nami.org/Find-Support

In general, they are a good resource for families of people with mental illness. My child is only 10, but in my professional life, I have seen how hard it is to connect adult children to their supportive parents. Doctors don't create discharge plans for people with mental illness the way they do for people who've been hospitalized for conditions like cancer or diabetes. Family supports are often happily utilized in those instances, but the stigma of mental illness can really limit how much individuals or providers will allow their family into the mental health recovery process. NAMI has done some work in making psychiatric hospitalizations less traumatic for individuals and their families. It's a hard path, but hopefully that link can provide some good places to start!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kekky
says:
October, 20 2017 at 1:18 pm
I know exactly what you mean my daughter 22 is locked up has severe bruises all over scabs on her face no rights being jabbed with needles I have asked to be more informed but still am not she has declined after being in there for 4 weeks the legal system is a joke more needs to be done for mental health and patience rights this is a living nightmare

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