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My 13 year old attempted suicide

My 13 year old attempted suicide

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My 13 year old attempted suicide

Hello all. I'm new here. My 13 year old daughter attempted suicide last Friday. She is "ok" physically and is in a psychiatric hospital. She has started antidepressants while there. She has major depression. Once she is discharged she will go to an intensive outpatient program, see a therapist and a psychologist. My question is, how do I as a Father handle the aftermath of this. Do I give her a little space but not to much. What types of things do we talk about. Any information on how to handle all this would be appreciated! Thank you!

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Re: My 13 year old attempted suicide

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Hi @JC707, thank you for sharing your story with us. I am sorry to hear about what your family is going through, that must be so challenging and deeply upsetting. It is great to hear that your daughter has got some supports in place and will begin an intensive outpatient program. I hope she finds these to be really beneficial. Dealing with suicide can also be incredibly difficult on parents too, so it is important that you look after yourself too. Have you thought of seeing a psychologist yourself? They can help you through the process and provide you with some valuable tools and skills to navigate this situation. In terms of talking to your daughter, it can be helpful to let your daughter know that you are there to support her if she ever needs anything. It might be difficult for her to share at first. We have a list of articles here that you may find helpful. 

 

Please feel welcome to keep us updated Smiley Happy

 

Also just so you know, I had to edit out the name and quantity of a medication in your post. If you'd like to have a read of our guidelines, you can find them here.

 

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Re: My 13 year old attempted suicide

Hi @JC707 

 

I am so sorry to hear what you and your family have been through, it sounds like both you and your partner are such kind and caring parents. I thought I would share with you my own experience I had when I was the same age as your daughter. I had been through a lot and was really going through a tough time and I became suicidal l when I was about 12 or 13. Unfortunately my dad and step mum didn't really give me the support I needed. What i needed most was to be heard and not judged and know that i was loved unconditionally. I think by coming here and seeking support you are already doing a fantastic job, and it sounds like I could have used someone like you in my corner when i was a kid. i hope you are taking time to look after yourself as this such a difficult thing to go through.

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Re: My 13 year old attempted suicide

Hi jc707, I wanted to say how sorry I am that your daughter is going through such a horrible time and so are you. My daughter is 13 and going through a very anxious and depressed time and I constantly worry about this scenario. However, she and I talk about suicide in that she knows people do it and some young people. She has talked about self-harming but never done it. I know that despite her sometimes furious anger at me, her dark moods and here massive panic attacks, the fact that she feels she can talk to me about anything helps here enormously. Yes she is also seeing a professional and we may go down the medication path because I don't know what else is going to help at present. But I feel for both of you. Just keep giving her the love you have and listening to everything she says - even if it is repetitious and even if she doesn't want an answer. I'm learning that sometimes my daughter just wants to say stuff without me trying to 'fix' it or come back with anything. She just wants me to listen. I'm sure you already do that because you sound like a great Dad. You are not alone although I know it feels like it. Keep talking to us here because we all need to that support and kind words at a time like this. I am thinking of you both and I really hope things improve. Warmest wishes.

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Re: My 13 year old attempted suicide

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Hi @Hopesprings123 , 
I think what you say is so powerful, and so true - "Just keep giving her the love you have and listening to everything she says - even if it is repetitious and even if she doesn't want an answer. I'm learning that sometimes my daughter just wants to say stuff without me trying to 'fix' it or come back with anything. She just wants me to listen."

 

I think that's been one of the biggest lessons that I've had to learn as a parent - is sometimes, our kids just need to be heard, and as tempting as it can be to jump into problem solving mode, sitting there with them, holding space, and truly listening can be an incredibly powerful thing to do. 

 

I also think it's fantastic that you have been able to have conversations about suicide with her - a lot of people are scared to have those conversations, and sometimes worry that it will make things worse/ put ideas in people's head, but the research shows that's not true at all. There's so much power in being able to let our kids know that they can have those hard conversations - that they're not alone, and that there are people in their life who are listening. It's an incredible gift to give to your daughter. 

 

I just thought I'd also share some ReachOut resources on how to talk to kids about suicide in case they are helpful for any one here. 

 

@JC707  we are all thinking of you - there's some beautiful words of advice and support here, you are not alone. 

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Re: My 13 year old attempted suicide

Scary, isn't it. It's like they have suddenly changed. I try to find the familiar ways we connect, the interests, jokes, etc. Walking the dog, if she agrees to come along. Cooking food for her, asking what yummy things she'd like to eat. I don't try to delve into her thoughts, but I do check in on the safety plan traffic light system - do you have that going? It kind of works, kind of. But I'm new to all this, so I am making it up as I go along, and taking the advice of health people. Punishment or cracking down is useless. I wish you and your 13 yr old all the best.

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