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TW : teen girl - off the rails

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Casual scribe

TW : teen girl - off the rails

Hi, Im a GP and trying to help the family of a !4 year old girl , who lives with loving parents and is the  youngest of 3 kids who has fallen off the rails over the last 2 years and does not want to engage in any professional support - psychologist/ psychiatrist/ school counsellors etc. There is a history of self harm and a suicide attempt, marijuana use, school refusal ( says she wants to go, goes but doesn't attend class then leaves), bad social group - including other teens who deal drugs, stays out late and often overnight at another boy's place ( attempted contact with his parents has not been successful).  Attempts have been made to help - including extended family holiday, facilitating interest ( horses) -she promises to change and attend school then it doesn't happen. 

Prolific scribe

Re: TW : teen girl - off the rails

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Hi @DrCheese 

It's great to see you showing concern for this family and are trying to do what you can to support them, I'm sure they are very thankful to have you there for them.

I'm wondering if the parents have any supports in place? Have they been able to connect with their daughter's school to get support from them?

If they haven't done so already, it may be an idea for the parents to work with their daughter on creating a safety plan for her. You can find more info on this here.

We have had to edit your post slightly as we cannot recommend institutions that could potentially cause harm to young people. However, we encourage you to reach out to CAHMS Crisis Connect. They provide advice and guidance for referrals for families, as well as GPs. They may be able to come up with some potential options that would provide the best care and support for the daughter.

We also encourage the parents to share their experiences here too, so we can give them some more relevant resources and referrals Smiley Happy

Active scribe

Re: TW : teen girl - off the rails

This sounds just like my granddaughter. She was seeing a specialist from CAMHS but didn’t engage or do any of the suggested mental health therapies. It just gets worse. Now she’s skipping class. Running away and staying at friends houses. We are terrified of what she’ll get up to next. The police can’t bring her home. Only report on where she is. What’s worse is how some parents just think. Oh, fine your friend can stay with us and not consider the parents are worried about their whereabouts. I’m at a loss as to what to do. It appears there is nothing we can do. The worry and trauma it’s causing me personally is too much. I think I’ll have to see a Dr.
Prolific scribe

Re: TW : teen girl - off the rails

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HI there @NannyPop ,


It sounds like such as stressful situation to face. As much as you want to help your granddaughter, she is refusing all support. I hear what you are saying that families allow your granddaughter to stay with them, with possibly little knowledge that you are all worried.

Have you ever tried speaking to these families? Perhaps they are having the same issues as you are? 

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon nowadays. Education departments in various states of Australia recognise the challenges teens are faced with and have programs in place to better support them. However, if your teen is not at school, it will be difficult to participate in these programs. 

Some schools take their Year 9 students on regular lengthy hikes; some schools take students on Term-long camps. 

Do you think there are any wellbeing supports at school or adjustments that can be made to re-engage her? Or even consider alternative schooling? 

It may also be worthwhile understanding what is driving the school refusal. You can read more about it here.

However, for now, I hear how traumatic and stressful things are for you right now. It would be a good idea to have supports in place for yourself such as a therapist, counsellor etc. So yes, the best start would be to see your doctor.

We look forward to hearing how you go.

Active scribe

Re: TW : teen girl - off the rails

I do appreciate the reply and suggestions.
My daughter has her enrolled in School to start for year 9 (next year) but at this rate, she may not be accepted if her behaviour worsens.
I have had therapy and antidepressants to alleviate the pain but in reality nothing works. We need a small miracle I’m afraid.
The mental stress and pain I feel is unfortunately taking over my life. Obviously there is more to it than recent events and we try to go about our daily lives with purpose but it’s hard.
I’m always scared to answer the phone when my daughter calls as I’m expecting the worst.

Just having someone who responds and acknowledges my feelings, gives me a small sense of relief.

My daughter has a meeting with the principal tomorrow. So we’re a bit on edge about the outcome of it. If they suspend her again. It will be one more suspension and then she could be expelled. A scary thought for my daughter as she has already tried home schooling and that was very difficult.
We’ve been through so much, mood swings, self harm, vaping, smoking pot, sexting.
Theses are the real struggles we face with young people.
I just can’t get my head around it.

Prolific scribe

Re: TW : teen girl - off the rails

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Hey @NannyPop 

Thank you for sharing more about your situation with us. From what you've shared, it sounds like it has been a very tough time for you and your family recently.

I can hear how challenging this has been for you and your family and how hard you are all trying to support her through this and get her all the support available, even by sharing this with us shows just how hard you are trying. Your granddaughter is lucky to have such amazing people around her for support like yourself who care so deeply for her and just want the best for her.

In saying that, I can hear how much of an impact that this has been having on you which is understandable. It sounds like it has been a difficult situation to navigate through and like you are all trying your best to manage.

I know you mentioned that your daughter was meeting with the school principal today and are worried about the outcome of this which is very understandable. I was wondering whether the school has been able to provide any support for your granddaughter? Have they been able to come up with a plan together on how they can best support you all, or is this something that would be an option to discuss with them?

I was also wondering whether your granddaughter had any other supports from either a GP, school counsellor or mental health professional? 

I wanted to share our parents and careers coaching service with you which you may find helpful. It is a free service where you can speak to a family professional and receive some support. We have more information about it here.

I can also hear how much of an impact this has all be having on you and was wondering if you have been able to do anything to help take care of yourself? It's important that you are also prioritising your own wellbeing and taking care of yourself. We have some information about the importance of self-care for families here which you may be interested in.

Thank you again for sharing this with us. Remember that we are all here for you, to listen and support you as much as we can.

Also, I have sent you an email to check in. Could you please keep an eye out for that.

Take care and we hope to hear back from you soon.