The next evening at about 9 PM, two very kind police oﬃcers knocked on my front door. When I answered, the police oﬃcer stated that they received a “Safe2Tell” call regarding my daughter. They told me that she had been cutting. I called my daughter to come downstairs and with the police oﬃcers present, and I asked to see her arms. She had many cuts covering her arms. My heart broke. I knew she was hurting inside.
She was transported to the emergency room and placed on a “M1” (mental health hold) to be evaluated. After she was evaluated, the medical and psychiatric team told me that my daughter’s test results came back alarmingly high for anxiety and depression and that she tested positive for marijuana. My daughter was then transported via ambulance to an adolescent behavioral health inpatient program. She was at the program for almost two weeks, participating in group therapy and individual therapy sessions and met with the doctor daily. She was also educated on healthy coping skills, and she did very well in the program. I strongly believe that the inpatient program helped save my daughter’s life.
Once discharged from the inpatient level of care, she immediately started an intensive outpatient program (IOP). IOP consists of her attending the program three afternoons per week for about three hours each day. She meets with her therapist and mentor each time. She meets with their doctor approximately every two weeks. My daughter really enjoys attending IOP and has not once has she complained about going.
Our Family Today
With tears in my eyes as I write this, I am beyond thrilled that my daughter is coming back! She has been so pleasant to be around. She has been so respectful and is starting to thrive the way she used to in school again.
I think the worst thing a parent can say is “not my kid” — always respond as soon as you can to any warning signs:
Some Warning Signs You Can Look For:
- Change in sleep patterns
- Random outbursts
- Self-harm behaviors
- Red glossy and dilated eyes (for marijuana)
- Decrease of engagement in school
- Change of behaviors
Some Tips I Have on Checking in With Your Child:
- Get to know their friends
- Lock up all medications at home
- If prescribed medication by a physician, administer for them as prescribed
- Never try to be the “cool parent.”
- Stay involved in their lives
- Go with your gut! It’s important to try to determine what’s going on if you get that feeling.
- Talk to your kids about substances. You’d rather them learn from you then from other kids on the playground.