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anyone out there whose teen spent time in psychiatric hospital?

(17 Posts)
thecrazycatlady Tue 04-Mar-14 15:55:21

I'd really like to speak to someone whose teen has spent time in a psychiatric hospital. My DD (age 15) is coming to the end of her second stay in a teen psychiatric unit and I'm quite nervous about her coming home again after a period of calm at home - I have two other daughters. She's in there for depression, anxiety and psychosis, this time following an OD. She's had mental health issues for 2 years now, though had counselling since age 11 for anxiety and behavioural issues. Since being in the unit she's developed a phobia about going to school - she's had issues with school since age 11. There is lots of support for her when she comes home - she has a psychiatrist, psychologist and mental health nurse - but we are just expected to get on with it - no support groups I've found yet for parents. It's a very isolating experience and a lot to deal with. I work but it's had a major effect on my ability to work, as she's needed so much attention over the past two years. I've always been a very positive person, never suffered with depression, but I feel like it's dragging me down too. It's also affected her 11 year old sister quite badly too.

IloveJudgeJudy Tue 04-Mar-14 22:30:24

Hi, yes, DD (17) has just spent over 3 weeks in an adolescent unit. This was her first time, following various suicide attempts and bad depression and anxiety. We were lucky that we only had to wait 13 days from application to unit to her being admitted. I did have to watch her all the time, but where I work was very helpful. I don't know if they would be if it happened again.

I agree with the dragging down. Her counsellor(s) have suggested family therapy which we would love, but have never actually got around to doing anything about it. Even telling me about a website (other than MN) would be very helpful.

It's such a difficult time, I've found. I'm sort of walking on eggshells a lot of the time as she's so fragile. She's home now. Been home for a week. We have an appointment with the school - HoY, unit education officer and us, tomorrow, to see about a gradual reintroduction. I don't know how that's going to work as DD is in Y12. She hopes to retake, but can't stay at home for the rest of this school year. She's too vulnerable, needs the stability/predictability of school and also seeing her friends again, but she's already getting a bit anxious about how it's going to work. We did discuss it as a family over dinner, but don't know what school's going to say.

anthropology Wed 05-Mar-14 10:24:00

My DD was hospitalised several times at 15/16. I did have to stop work for quite a long time,which has been tough. she returned to education slowly at a different smaller college, and this really helped as it was hard to fit back in at old school. crazycatlady, it may be worth considering changing school.The LEA funded my dd to go to a small college for GCSES. she just took a couple initially(part time) and went back a year to do the rest. I love judge judy.If your DD is fragile , maybe she can just do one A level, go in part time,and retake others next year in a different college. IMO the important thing was to pace recovery .She is much stronger now and off to uni in September. I had no support from Camhs, Young Minds is the only relevant website for teens - they do have parent callback service from professionals. Despite not working, I did pay for family therapy ,and also had CBT via my GP to help me cope .Siblings may also benefit from their own support,which they can get via camhs. good luck to all of you.

thecrazycatlady Wed 05-Mar-14 11:04:40

Thanks for the replies, it really helps to know that I'm not alone in this. My DD is in Yr 11 so has her GCSEs in just a couple of months. The reintegration officer at her unit has been taking her into school a couple of times a week for just a couple of lessons at a time, but if anything her anxiety about going to school seems to have got worse since she's been in hospital. She's lost touch with all her friends except one, so that doesn't make going into school any easier for her. She does however have a lovely boyfriend who's very supportive.

She says she's still determined to sit her GCSEs, but she's missed 7 weeks of school now so she's quite behind. School have said she can drop more subjects - she's already dropped two - but she doesn't want to. She has been set high targets - which we are not expecting her to achieve - and her psych at the unit is going to write to her exam boards so they'll take her condition into account. I honestly don't care what she gets in her GCSEs now and her school have been brilliant and told her she has a place in 6th form whatever she gets, but I know my daughter will want to do well as she's a very high achiever. We have talked to her about moving schools but she really doesn't want to as she copes very badly with change of any kind - the change from primary to secondary school was truly horrendous and she wasn't really settled until year 9.

Being in hospital has helped her up to a point, but the problem is she now sees it as a refuge and a way of not facing up to life, so she's very anxious about coming home again. We thinks she's ready to come out now - as do her doctors - but she still needs convincing that she can cope. We have a great psychologist - which we have to pay for as CAMHS only offered her 6 sessions and that was after 6 months of waiting - the CAMHS psychiatrist seems good and she's also with Early Intervention Service for Psychosis, and they are excellent and can see her once a week. They are hopefully setting us up with some family behavioural therapy when she comes out next week. I'm just dreading the next few months. My eldest is 18 and is sitting her A levels, so need to keep things calm for her. Luckily I'm self-employed so I can choose when I work, though obviously I'm only paid when I do work, which at the moment isn't a lot. Can't afford to do that for long though.

anthropology Thu 06-Mar-14 12:33:15

I recognise quite a lot of what you say, so if school gets harder , particularly if it becomes difficult with friends (and some parents!) do pm me as I can explain the routes we took educationally and outside support/educational charities I found. I wonder if they gave her a WISC 4 assessment ? Mitigating circumstances is never more than 5 per cent, but she can always retake later if necessary. I dont think I realised how many teens, for different reasons, stumble at this stage. So many friends took gap years, that my DD is joining uni without feeling older.

Sometimes I think its easier to be around other young people who arent coping as well at a time where teenage friends are so important - which might be why she wants to stay in hospital, its so good she has her lovely boyfriend outside. Despite being advised to the contrary, My DD maintained some friendships from that time, which have been really important. They go through so much on the road to recovery, and I'm so proud of my DD.

chocaholic73 Sat 08-Mar-14 16:18:46

Another one here - DD was an inpatient for 3 months last year, followed by another 3 months as a day patient. After that, as Crazycatlady says we "were just left to get on with it". There was a gap of about a month before she saw a CAMHS therapist and when she did she didn't like her and already things started going downhill. Three months down the road we are waiting for her to be readmitted and although we know it won't solve anything we just can't cope anymore .. things are so difficult here with her now. Her illness takes everything over and we are unable to have a life outside her.

anthropology Sat 08-Mar-14 19:12:09

chocaholic73. I'm so sorry. My DD had three admissions. I found it such a lonely , terrifying, experience, but with the right therapists and support, most teens really do get better and I've seen that from the units especially if they can get support back in the community and getting back into education or a course. I spent nearly 2 years never imagining things would get better, but they did although I had to be around for a lot of that and I agree its impossible to have a life when things are bad. Talking to the right therapist is important though for your DD. Camhs I found, had some great and not so great therapists, and if they cant easily diagnose issues, its really confusing for the teens and dangerous if they make the wrong assumptions. Their focus is the child and not the family, which I think really hinders recovery for everyone. Do get some CBT support yourself via your GP . I found it helpful. Please don't lose hope.

Sillylass79 Sat 08-Mar-14 19:25:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

IloveJudgeJudy Sun 09-Mar-14 20:12:31

Hello, all.
It has been very uplifting, reading all your stories.

We went for the meeting at school. At the time it was quite/very nerve-wracking, especially as when we got there on time the HoY/6th form called the professionals in without us! They were discussing stuff for about 45 minutes before we were let in.

They had obviously done a lot of thinking about this which was very welcome. It was agreed, with DD's input, too, that DD would drop an AS, making three A levels that she'd be taking. They also said that they thought she should work towards the AS exams as everyone needs an aim. DD and I both agreed that.

DD will be going again tomorrow. She has had to e-mail them a risk plan, like she did when she was allowed leave from the psychiatric unit. She will be starting part-time this week. She will have less timetable now as she has dropped one subject. She is only going in for her timetable stuff for the first couple of days and then is allowed to stay for her free lessons. She has agreed that she won't leave the school premises unless it is at lunchtime with her friends.

That's very interesting, anthropology, what you said about your DD keeping some friends from her inpatient time. The school told DD's EIS counsellor that many of her friends at this school have had some issues.

I must say that DD's friends have been fantastic. She is at a new school for her A levels from her GCSE school and it is the friends from this new school htat have been great. They have kept in contact with her all the time.

What I also need to say is that DD was given time alone with some named friends after the meeting at the school. What a great idea that was. It was instigated by the re-integration coordinator from the psychiatric unit. DD had to write down the name of some school friends while she was still on the ward. She didn't know what for until about a day before the school meeting. It really made going back to school properly a much easier prospect for her.

DD's EIS counsellor also told me that DD's present school has been great from her experience of some other schools. They really seem to care about DD's wellbeing and have thought about everything they can to help her reintegration and education. According to her counsellor, though, DD's GCSE school was not one of the better ones.

I can really see how DC would want to stay in these units. Although there is not much to do there and they rail against the rules, in actual fact, they are very safe there.

anthropology Mon 10-Mar-14 08:42:28

Hi,*Ilovejudgejudy*. the school sounds great and unusually sensitive and I hope reintegration goes well. I also think that 17 year old friends are mature enough to understand and be supportive. My DD also has lots of good friends now. At 14/15 I think its as much parents fears which makes friendships harder. At 17 she must be in transiton, so I really hope she can get enough support . Make sure they have a solid transition plan, it took my DD a year to get a therapist from adult services, despite her history and specialist assessment recommended high level support. It does however, feel that universities have a bit more support in place, especially if alerted early. best of luck.

thecrazycatlady Mon 10-Mar-14 08:44:24

I hope your DD's first week back in school goes well IloveJudgeJudy, and I agree it's a really scary time. I'm sure it's the right decision to drop one AS subject as it'll help her feel more in control. My DD dropped 2 GCSEs and school are trying to encourage her to drop another to ease the stress.

My DD is now on extended leave from her psychiatric unit, with a proposed discharge date of next Tues if all goes well. She's got two mornings in school this week, so I'm really hoping it goes well, but I'm feeling the pressure is now on me to keep her safe and try to keep her feeling positive about being out of hospital. It's not an easy task as her moods change rapidly throughout the day and you really can't predict how she'll be from one hour to the next. The hospital are call her every day to check how she's doing and we're seeing her EIS counsellor this morning to see what she can do to help. It's very daunting and I've been worrying a lot about how it's all going to go. She's due to start GCSEs in just 8 weeks time, so that is really adding to the pressure, plus her elder sister is doing A levels and I need to keep things calm at home for her.
Like you, I'm luck that my DD's school are incredibly supportive, especially her head of year and her SENCO. They have been incredibly flexible and understanding, and we are really lucky with that.

I think given the choice my DD would go back to her unit today if she could, because to her it's a refuge and she feels like she fits in with the other young people she's met there, something she doesn't feel with her friends at her school - she has distanced herself from most of these over the course of her illness. But we really don't think a prolonged stay in hospital will solve her problems so we're doing everything we can to keep her at home. I've no idea how this week's going to go. I have to watch her every minute of the day in case she does something to herself which would force us to take her back to hospital. The likelihood of her doing this is quite high at the moment, so it's a huge responsibility.
I'm going to see my GP this week to see if I can get some CBT which might help me to cope with all this better.

anthropology Mon 10-Mar-14 12:45:43

thinking of you both. in terms of gcses, given the promise school have made , remind her that she can resit some gcses next year when she feeling better, especially if the school have given unconditional sixth form access and loads of teens do this, for many reasons. maybe look at what she thinks she can cope with and just suggest that with a couple at least, she sits the exam, without revision and she focuses on the 4 or 5 which are easier to revise . My experience was my DD needed a lot of quiet time during the first home period, lots of candlelit baths, music reading, baking cupcakes etc, just being quiet and safe and allow her to be home if she needs to be, saying at the moment, school is just about getting through the exams and not to worry about friendships or extra curricular, as that will all be easier when she is better in the summer. will pm about keeping her safe.

IloveJudgeJudy Mon 10-Mar-14 12:49:30

I was going to say that DD met another girl in the unit who was the same age as DD, but was redoing Y11 and her GCSEs. The school were happy with that. As DD is in Y12 and DS1 is in Y14! it seems that more and more DC are retaking one or other year. That can only be a good thing. I (and her counsellors) were trying to tell DD that, in the grand scheme of things, retaking some exams is nothing to worry about. I just hope she can take this on board.

IloveJudgeJudy Mon 10-Mar-14 12:51:09

And, anthropology, thank you for the heads up about transition. I assume you mean between adolescent and adult care? I hadn't even thought that far ahead, apart from DD's psychiatrist said that DD will have to move to someone else when she reaches 18. EIS, however, will continue with her care until they have been linked with her for 3 years, no matter her age.

anthropology Mon 10-Mar-14 13:21:21

yes, Ilove judgejudy, they should offer a transition plan. There are a couple of outpatient services in London, for example, looking after young people until 21, but most stop at 18. CAMHS Outpatient services, may be prolonged for eg, to the end of a school year , but my experience of inpatient care was removal on a teens 18th birthday, with dire consequences in one case, so if you are several months away, worth fighting her corner and working out what choices you have. EIS hopefully will help.

loretta1 Sat 05-Mar-16 08:01:46

Does anyone know of residential options for my 19 year old DS with severe OCD, who is great at Drama and Music. If feels so important to support our vulnerable children as they grow towards keeping their skills and keeping anything that is fulfilling and motivating. I feel that whilst he is still young that I cannot send him to somewhere that does not retain a high level of therapy, in order to maximise any improvement there can be in his earlier years and I also cannot send him to somewhere which allows his skills to die.
Any thoughts anyone?

HarHer Sun 17-Apr-16 11:57:15


My DS was in hospital for seven months in 2014 (anxiety and depression complicated by ASC). He was admitted for a few weeks last June and there is talk of readmission. He left mainstream school midway through Year 10, tried a specialised school last year (but it did not work out) and is currently without education, training or purposeful occupation (LA say he is medically unfit for a Personalised Learning Programme). To make matters worse, his younger brother is also not attending school. He has not been able to attend for over a year due to anxiety and get five hours home tuition a week from the LA. He hides for about 50% of the session. There is talk about DS 2 going into hospital as well due to his lack of engagement and health anxiety.

I have posted on another thread , but I just wonder why there is so little support for families with teenagers with mental health difficulties. I have had to give up work (I now work from home) and my husband has mental health issues of his own (he sees a mental health social worker once a week).

Anyway, that's the moan over with.

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