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How do I help my suicidal 13 year old daughter?

How do I help my suicidal 13 year old daughter?

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Casual scribe

How do I help my suicidal 13 year old daughter?

I am writing to ask for insights and support. A week ago today, I was contacted at work by my daughter’s teacher; her friend’s mother contacted her urgently because my daughter was threatening suicide. I was stunned. I had no idea at all. My husband and I went home immediately, confirmed that my daughter had not just said this, but had a plan (date, a particularly lethal method, and the means to carry it out). She had also been self harming herself. We took her to ER, which was of limited help. Two days later we were able to get her in to see an urgent psychologist (not psychiatrist). Today (the day she planned to kill herself) we saw her family physician who prescribed an anti-depressant and an anti-anxiety medication. I try to talk to her, but she is not forthcoming (everything is “fine”). I asked her today if she regretted that she was stopped from carrying out her plan and she said she was. I am terrified. She says she does not have a suicide plan now, but how can I trust that? She will continue with therapy and medication (and we will watch for the increased risk of that). 

 

I am struggling to understand everything. How can I help her, and what can I say that is supportive, and how do I stop hovering over her, and what are the things I am saying that make things worse? We are removing things that she could use to hurt herself, but she can always find more options. We are trying to monitor her devices, but she can delete things. We are trying to have someone in the house at all times, but she could find ways to evade that, I am sure. Everything in our lives is flipped upside down. I need to be strong for her, and for our other daughter, and I need to find hope. I just don’t know how. I will see a therapist myself in two days. But how do I talk to my daughter in ways that are supportive? How do I create a positive environment rather than making home stressful from my own fear? Will this ever be better?

Mod

Re: How do I help my suicidal 13 year old daughter?

Hey there @Concerned_mom thank you so much for posting. My heart goes out to you, it is a very confronting and highly nerve wracking discovery. In your post I sensed so much warmth, love and adoration for your Daughter which is so very beautiful. Did your Daughter open up about the pain she is experiencing, the foundation of the emotions leading her to consider ending her life?

 

You are not alone. And a huge well done on teeing up a Therapist for yourself as this is going to be a key element in managing your Daughter's health as well as your own. I would like to recommend a couple of services to you that will really help you take the edge off, as you said yourself - it is the unknown around future plans. The main thing is the lines of communication are open, you've checked all the boxes in terms of linking  her in with a health professional (amazing work), but it sounds to me like you're more nervous in the moment in regards to not being able to track her every move - is that right?

 

Suicide Callback Service is a 24/7 helpline staffed by qualified counsellors. They are available to support you manage your Daughters risk as you need at any time of day. If you have any concerns about your Daughter in future you can phone them on 1300 659 467. In addition, I would highly recommend giving the Sane Help Centre (1800 18 7263) a call during business hours as they may be able to discuss strategies with you at length, they're exceptionally equipped in dealing with complex mental illness and may have some ideas around safety planning.

 

In terms of creating a positive environment at home, what do you think that could look like? What do you think would make your Daughter feel more secure? Look forward to hearing from you Heart

Mod

Re: How do I help my suicidal 13 year old daughter?

Parent Community Champion

Re: How do I help my suicidal 13 year old daughter?

Hi @Concerned_mom

My heart goes out to you.  I am in the very same boat with my year old daughter.  We have been going through this a few months now so I may have a little insight to offer.  Fist of all, it sounds like you are doing all the right things.  Just being there and supporting her, let her know you will get through this and she is not alone.  In our home we have locked up medications, sharps and all cleaning supplies.  You are right in saying they could find another way but getting theses things out of sight shows them we are serious about protecting them.  Right now my daughter sleeps with me and she must go to work with me.  She must be with someone at all times.  Her room is ok but with the door open.  She goes to group therapy, regular therapy and is on meds.  I want to warn you medications take time to figure out.  We have gone through many types.  She has been in and out of school but I keep the school informed the best I can.  I try not to stress my daughter out that she must go and keep up perfect grades.  I learned her recovery comes first and we can deal with school as she heals.  Ask your daughter what she needs from you right now.  Brace yourself for some changes at home and be patient.  Try not to overextend yourself outside of helping your daughter- it will only add to your stress.  Commitments other than taking care of my daughter have been leaving me with high anxiety and juggling too many things that are not important.  Hugs to you.  I know what you are going through and you are not alone.

Casual scribe

Re: How do I help my suicidal 13 year old daughter?

Thank you to all that responded. I appreciate it, very much.

 

I am going day by day and sometimes hour by hour. I feel like we are going everything we can and it is still out of our hands. It is devastating to imagine our family without her.

Parent Community Champion

Re: How do I help my suicidal 13 year old daughter?

Dear @Concerned_mom

I totally understand how you feel.  Sometimes I try to start s conversation with my daughter about the future.  Like what she wants to be when she grows up, how much fun traveling to a certain place would be.  When I can engage her in those types of conversations it brings me hope.  And I believe it gives her hope looking towards the future as well.  Please remember you are not alone many of us are going through very similar situations.  Day by day is right. Try to keep taking care of yourself as you take care of your daughter though this.  Hugs.

Casual scribe

Re: How do I help my suicidal 13 year old daughter?

Hi @Concerned_mom,

 

How are you coping up with the problem? Actually, my sister also had this kind of incident, around that age too. When the school administration called the house about what happened, my mom just hugged her. I never heard my mom scold her or anything. She just gave her all the love and support that my sister needed at that time. When I asked my mom about why she never scolded my sister, she said "I know she's having a hard time and I don't want to give her more pressure. Time heals all wounds and I know she'll come along when she's okay". 

 

So, we just give her more attention, love, support on what she really liked, give her the best advice that we can give and even suggest good things for her. Now, she's quite stable. Smiley Happy She knows her self-worth, engages more with fun activities with us and her friends. 

 

By the way, I'm Lucy writer/researcher