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Old 01-04-2016, 10:12 AM
11,230 posts, read 9,231,004 times
Reputation: 14654


Originally Posted by MoonBeam33 View Post
Hello all. Over the last year and a half, through many difficult struggles, I have reason to believe that my teenager may truly be mentally ill. Now, before you laugh and make jokes about teenagers, please understand this is not something I take lightly, this is not me overreacting to normal teen behaviors, this is not a diagnosis I want.

I am not going to go over details of my experiences with her as I know how folks on this board can be, but suffice it to say I believe she has inherited her father's (my ex husband) mental health issues. She has a therapist that I will talk to about getting a referral to a child psychologist/psychiatrist so I can get some unbiased, professional opinions.

What I am asking for is advice, opinions, support from those of you on the board who have parented or are parenting a child/adolescent with mental health issues, things you wish you had known, things would do differently, things that you found worked for your child. Advice navigating the maze of psychiatric healthcare. Anything that would be helpful to someone possibly at the beginning of this journey.

Thank you.
No laughter from me. No advice either. Just my best wishes for you and your family.
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Old 01-05-2016, 02:07 PM
Location: New York NY
4,133 posts, read 5,945,094 times
Reputation: 8680
Something that hasn't been mentioned here are potential legal issues. It's not uncommon for mentally ill kids to get into trouble with the law, and sometimes very bad trouble -- as in bad enough to result in a felony indictment. Some serious cases can result in being charged as an adult even under the age of 18.

So please be aware, should the situation arise (and I hope it doesn't), of the possibility of getting your child's case transferred to mental health court, where treatment can be mandated and any felony convictions can be modified or dropped. This happened to two families I know of here in New York, and I believe that it's also possible in Illinois. And having a record of treatment before a precipitating incident will make it easier for a judge to transfer the case from criminal court to mental health court, so I'm glad that you are seeking help for her early.

Of course I hope your daughter never finds herself in such a situation. But if she does, I can say from what I've seen, these courts will give her a good chance of starting out without a felony on her record, which would of course be crippling.

Good luck with everything.
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Old 01-05-2016, 03:30 PM
3,325 posts, read 3,262,707 times
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If she is still a minor, you have on your side the fact that if necessary, you can get her hospitalized.

Upper middle class and upper class families get their mentally ill children long term hospitalization in private psych hospitals, often paid for by the State and the school district, while the kid gets through the worst of adolescence. Poorer families who don't know how to work the system wind up with the kids in prison, or dead.

My point is, if you have a child whose mental illness is a danger to himself or to others, do not hesitate to work early and rapidly toward a long term inpatient stay. This can be lifesaving for an out of control teen. If you wait until they are past 16, this may no longer be an option, and it most definitely is not an option once they are 18. It's better than prison or death. By the time that they are 18, they are often more stable, and better able to manage outside the hospital.
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