I have been thinking about Adam Lanza’s mom very much since Friday, and I have thought of my own journey with my daughter. I have thought long and hard about her life, what she needs and what she currently doesn’t get and I have thought about the struggle of doing it on your own. We do not know Adam’s diagnosis. It is said he is on the Autism spectrum, but there had to be more at play then just that.I know I am the mom of a teen diagnosed with multiple mental health issues.
And guess what? Accessing help, support and treatment for these teens is a nightmare that no parent should ever have to walk,yet to walk it alone: is a private hell in itself. I know I walk it every single day. My daughter changed before my eyes: gone was my sweet kid, instead I have an angry, anti social teen. She keeps to herself and has no friends. Can you imagine a life without friends? That is simply where she is at. After being so badly bullied for 2 years (so much so that she ended up in emergency rooms three times) she prefers to be alone saying people just don’t get me. 98% of the time she is in control of her emotional state, the other 2% she can lose it and get angry oh so angry. Let me be clear about this, she has never inflicted harm on another. Her psychologist explains it this way she has the mind of a 14 year old, yet socially she is at about 8. She is not dishonest, doesn’t steal, has not been charged with any crime yet. She simply lives in this world alone.
That’s the issue, here in Ontario the wait time for mental health who are not before the courts, (the kind that could make a difference for a mom and her daughter) is lengthy and finding the right treatment is difficult. Teens with mental health issues here at home often go untreated and that is a fact. It is like you climb a mountain and you may never reach the summit. It is scary.
Currently my teen is on meds and receiving private therapy to help teach her the skills she needs and she is socially isolates herself. But I still worry because the costs associated with her treatment are high. I do not have the extra benefits I need, and I had to go to private therapy as the wait time for mental health here is over a year long, what parent wants to wait to get their child help? Not me. I am not writing this as a woe is me post but to explain there are some pretty harsh realities for any parent and any teen that lives every day with a personality disorder.
As well there is a shortage of Section 23 classroom spaces. Kids are forced out of school while they wait for space, or they are incorrectly placed like my daughter. These are intervention programs and when available help kids recover and learn coping skills that work well when received in a timely fashion. She has been waiting since June for a section 23 placement, placed in a safe school program that is meant only to last a few weeks. She may have to wait till the next school year (Sept 2013) for a proper placement. She loses a year, while she waits for the proper support.
What could be done to help:
- Let your MPP know you care about teens with mental health issues. Let them know this is a spending priority.
- Know a family with a teen with mental health issues, reach out of them let them know you care. It does make a difference.
- Have a teen with mental health issues, know you not alone.
- Let the school boards know that they need to support these kids while they are in school.
- Simply let us do better in our care of those who are often marginalized and live on the edge.
- Let us truly strive to take care of those living on the edge.Let us reach out in love.
I know the pain that goes with living with a teen with mental health issues every day, and it is my constant prayer that there would be more and better support for these kids because when there is not what we witnessed this week what can happen. We have no choice we need to do better no matter what. Are you willing to step up?