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Friday, February 25, 2011

Parental Psychiatric Intervention

Question: I am so mad right now because my daughter’s dad admitted her to a 72 hour watch at a mental health hospital.  I am so against it because I think I can help her. He won’t even let me and I am her mother, so do you think this will make her worse?  She is 16 and very introverted, she’s a sweetie and I think he drove her to this madness!  She had been cutting and taking meds from her dad and grandmothers cabinets.
 
Do you have any advice as to how I can help her from a distance?  I don’t spend a lot of time with her and live in a different city.  Any advice would be so appreciated.
                                               Laura S.,  Jamaica Estates, NY
Answer: Hi Laura,
I am sorry to hear about the situation with your daughter. I wish I could give you some advice that would really be helpful, but I know too little about the situation. So, instead let me share a few tips. Hope it's helpful!
 
I don't know what you're relationship is like with your daughter, but I imagine it would be helpful to her if you called or visited. Being admitted into a psychiatric hospital can be scary and confusing especially for someone her age. More than anything else, she may just want to hear that you are there for her, love her, and want to help in any way you can.
 
I'm not sure how familiar you are with how psychiatric hospitals work. After observing you're daughter for 72 hours they will make a recommendation based on what they saw (watching her behavior first hand and interacting with her should give the staff a pretty good picture of her situation). My suggestion is to discuss with the hospital staff what their recommendations are and the reasoning behind them. Since they will be much more familiar with your situation, they may also have more specific ideas on how you can help and support your daughter through this crisis.
 
Often times, people think that professional help with mental health issues is not necessary. Sometimes, you may be able to help your daughter without any other intervention, but it is always good to err on the side of caution and get a professional opinion on the situation. That is what appears to be happening at the hospital. (Once again, I'm speaking generally without the details of your situation)
 
I hope this helps a little. I know that when a loved one is having mental health problems it can be challenging for everyone in the family as well; so do take care of yourself.

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