Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Preventing Suicide

 Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

As someone with a family member who's actively considered suicide, I can say that preventing it is about as difficult as finding that proverbial needle in a haystack. Luck is more involved, I think. Luck that you find your loved one before it is too late, luck that your loved one was inexpert at handling guns or calculating dosages or carving into flesh.

But there are ways to address the underlying risks for suicide. Screening our children--and ourselves--for depression and other mood disorders is a start. Seeking treatment. Supporting increased research in finding better treatments.


I hope that got your attention.

Because here, in the state of Maryland, it is close to impossible to find outpatient adolescent psychiatrists and therapists 'in network'. If your child is hospitalized for depression, once 'stabilized', your child is discharged to outpatient care. If your child needs more intense treatment, there are few resources available, and those that are require you to relinquish your child to the Department of Social Services.

Private resources are located out-of-state, and are obscenely expensive. Insurance doesn't cover these expenses, nor does the public education system, which won't pay for out-of-state placement in educational programs that can help emotionally ill children. To obtain access to in-state private resources in Maryland, you almost always have to be dually-diagnosed with a learning disability (ADHD) and/or a spectrum disorder (Autism, Asperger's) in order to get the placement and resources needed.

So yeah, I am angry. And committed to yell and stomp my feet and make noise until we really do achieve parity in treating emotional illness. Depression IS a brain disease, just as is bipolar and schizophrenia and addiction. We wouldn't deny diabetics their insulin or cancer sufferers their chemo and radiation. So why deny our children the help they need?

Help me prevent suicide. Make some noise. Be vigilant for the signs and symptoms that signal depression in those you love. Love them by asking if they want to harm themselves, and if they say yes, get them help.

One Survivor's Story

Peace, Linda