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Back to school with severe depression.

Back to school with severe depression.

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Back to school with severe depression.

Hi @Elena

Thank you very much for your comments.

You're right. It does help to know that other people are dealing with issues somewhat like our own.

I understand your advice re; changing my attitude towards her schooling. That's really hard and is something I'm focussing on myself. Her case worked did say to me that "she has more important things to learn right now". It's so hard to watch the future that you saw for your child change so dramatically.


At this stage I'm not thinking of changing schols being a good answer mostly because she has a few strong friendships at school and we live in a rural area so there is only one other high school and the kids all know each other in both anyway.


Do you mind if I ask, how did your D's school react to her only attending sporadically? 

Frequent scribe

Re: Back to school with severe depression.

It hasn't been easy, mental health problems do not always show very much from the outside, some teachers have trouble seeing that she is ill.  I see the non attendance as being a symptom of her illness, and in fact proof of her illness.  I've had to have meetings with year supervisors to explain her issues, and they have been understanding, but it does not always filter down to other teachers or office staff.  Contacting the school every time she was unable to attend became such a chore, eventually I was able to assure the school that if she wasn't there that she was safe at home in bed, and not just wagging. Eventually they agreed to mark all of her absences as 'explained' whether or not I contacted them.....this didn't quite translate with the office..... but so far I haven't been in trouble with any authorities.  I'll put them in touch with her doctor and 2 psychologists if necessary.


We've considered home schooling, but she does not want this, and I figure that it is best for her to be with her peers when she is able to.  We don't want her even more socially isolated. It is a bit better now that she is at a matric college, as they are treated more like adults. It is a shame that their lessons aren't live streamed or something, so they could easily catch up from home when they can't deal with people. It is probably worth asking if they have some sort of flexible learning options, my D finished one subject by working through booklets at home.  At times i've looked at Ted Talks and Kahn Academy to help her with study, but it is time consuming.

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Back to school with severe depression.

@Elena that is so familiar to me. Sadly. The difficulties due the physical invisibliity of mental illness. 

My daughter was overwhelmed by having to muddle her way through reasons to get through the office staff/sick bay to call me when she needed to leave. I understand their situation as they are bound by school policies and this is something that needs to be addressed before she goes back. 

Like you, I found that using her psych case worker as a mediator helped as they took it more seriously. At that point they didn't understand how sick she is but having been hospitalised since may have them more on side. Fingers crossed.

Thank you so very much for sharing your story as it has really helped. 

If you think of anything else please come back Smiley Happy 


Re: Back to school with severe depression.

@LovingThruBlue  It is a really difficult time that you and your daughter are going through.  The thought of going back to school and not having a plan would only be adding stress for you both.


i don't know where you live or even if you old consider this however there are special setting schools that accommodate students with mental health illnesses.  Some are full time settings others work on an integration system.  They follow the same curriculum as schools but often are shorter days are well staffed to support the students.  


Another option may be a partial attendance plan while she is continuing her treatment.  Depending on how flexible the school is she may be able to attend the classes she really likes and then work from home for the others.  


The school should be able to offer her a modified work plan which would enable her to meet the minimum requirements to pass her subjects until she is able to return to full time school.  This does take some planning on the schools part.  It is called an individualised learning plan.


i hope some of these help.  Please let us know how things go.  

Super contributor

Re: Back to school with severe depression.

Thanks so much @Elena and @Maggiemay for sharing your story. So much great information.


I think everyone's story illustrates the need for more flexible options for students. Especially when it comes to catching up on missed lessons or working from home to avoid getting behind. And as you have all said, home schooling is not a one size fits all solution. Many young people managing these issues still have strong connections with their peers and get a lot out of being around them, they just are not always up to getting there.


Please let us know how the meeting/s go @LovingThruBlue And don't forget you can always start a new topic if you find yourself dealing with a new issue.

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Back to school with severe depression.

Thank you very much for your replies @Elena @Maggiemay & @Ngaio-RO

I really appreciate it. You have given me some ideas to take with me to a meeting with my daughters case worker on Monday where we will come up with ideas and suggestions to take to school.


We live in a rural area so unfortunately the options for schooling are limited and there are no specialised schools. Also, home schooling is not an option as I am a single parent and work full time (I have missed a LOT or work but my work are very supportive). 


I am going to ask for support for partial attendance and a more individualised learning plan which will still support her in passing year 10. I'll let you know how we go.

Thanks again & if you think of anything else I'm always keen for tips Smiley Happy 

Super contributor

Re: Back to school with severe depression.

That sounds like a wonderful plan @LovingThruBlue Well done! Please let us know how it goes for you.


And don't forget to use ReachOut Parents as a place to connect and unwind. I imagine it can be hard when you're a single parent in a rural area to connect with others as often as you might like, so connecting here can be very therapeutic. 

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Back to school with severe depression.

The meeting at school went well. They were very supportive and my daughter has close-to managed the first two weeks of school attending half days indefinately.

I am very proud of her for managing that and it exceeded my expectations.


I thought changes to her medication regime 3 weeks ago was showing improvement but she saw her psychiatrist today and apparently what is discussed behind that door is different to what I see. He has instructed me to double the dose of one of her drugs Smiley Sad  Then I hang out washing and find an item used to self harm inside a pillow case. I feel so sad right now. Living with this disease is a horrible, devastating rollercoaster 

Super contributor

Re: Back to school with severe depression.

I'm so happy to hear that your daughter has been doing so well with school @LovingThruBlue

And I'm so sorry you feel sad. I understand how easy it is to feel hope, everytime things start to go well, and then it feels like a punch in the stomach when it seems like things are going backwards again.

Something I have found helpful is to compartmentalise a little bit. Try and break things into smaller groups without one thing affecting the other. So that way, you can feel really good about how well she is coping at school and the medication issue and the lapse with the self harm are seperate enough that it doesn't take away from her success.

The idea behind it is 'progress not perfection'. To recognise and acknowledge any growth and not let anything take away from it. Things are so tough for you and your daughter at the moment, you both deserve all the validation you can get.

Congrats for getting her a better deal at school @LovingThruBlue You did great.

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Back to school with severe depression.

Thank you @Ngaio-RO ! That is a great tip I'll be trying. It is so difficult even to enjoy 'good moments' because you know it's temporary and you'll come crashing down again.
I haven't been able to find a way to deal with that and I have mentioned it to a friend who cares for her teens with mental illness and a counsellor colleague who both agreed that that is a really difficult part of living with this. I really hope that others here who are carers see this tip.

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