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DS's friend in trouble - suggestions?

(7 Posts)
Catam Wed 23-Nov-16 18:48:15

DS's is a very sensible lad & his friendship group is similar. Many have been in therapy or had parents in therapy (NI par for the course ime)

One of the group is displaying worrying symptoms, hearing voices, panic attacks, cutting herself.

Tonight he told me all about it & asked my advice on how to help her. She's been in foster care & is now splitting her time between her parent's home & her own flat. When she has an episode her parent is calling my DS &/or one of her other close friends from the group.

Schizophrenia is more prevalent here in Ireland & that's one of my concerns for her. She has been resistant to the friendship groups suggestions of counselling/gp.

Tonight I suggested that they call an ambulance for her next time she has an episode rather than trying to follow/find her or as well as if they prefer (hard to let a good friend disappear when you know they're in trouble)

When lucid they have tried to convince her to see/call someone and as she refuses & her parent is calling her friends rather than GP/ambulance I am not sure what else to suggest.

The rest of the group are very open to seeking help (for themselves) thank god and no stigma re mental health issues so this is very hard for them to deal with (when they know help - albeit not well funded - is available)

What else can I suggest? I've offered to have a chat with her re what happens when you ask for help (ime only) but I'm worried about how the group as a whole is being affected as well as this poor girl.

Aside from reassuring them it's not their fault, or responsibility (over and above friendship & caring for loved ones) what can I do to support her, her friendship group & my son?

He's so concerned he has been asking if she can be forced to have help even though he respects her choices.

Is telling them to call an ambulance the right thing? Should I be helping the group as a whole seek help to deal with this? And if so what, aside from individual counselling, is available in NI?

cheekyfunkymonkey Wed 23-Nov-16 18:50:16

Yes. You need to involve medical professionals.

Catam Wed 23-Nov-16 19:11:37

Thanks Monkey, I know she needs outside help, and I know how hard it is to ask for that. I'm very concerned that she seems to have been abandoned by social care and feels that she can't ask for help - I suspect in fact that she feels it is useless to do so.

What can I do to support this friendship group? The two preferred people that the parent calls are my DS & a young man who is still in love with the girl - knowing I suppose that they won't refuse to come. Both have dropped everything to travel to see her when her parent calls and, while I really don't want to, I suspect that I perhaps make contact with the parent and suggest that this is not the way to go.

I love that the friendship group is so strong, that they care about each other & that they are encouraging outside help.

I suppose one of the things I'm asking (just realising now) is if I should talk to the parent too?

This sounds like a really difficult situation for your ds and his friends to deal with, Catam.

Your son and his friends are doing a very good thing by supporting this friend and caring about her so much - you have clearly raised a really good young man. It is a very stressful thing for him and his friends to be coping with, and they do need to take care of their own mental health.

I would suggest that you have a chat with him, and remind him that he and the other in the group do need to look after themselves as well as this friend. He can obviously talk to you about it - that is a good start - maybe there are online resources that would be helpful to him.

I think you are absolutely right that the girl's parent should not be calling your son and his friend when she is having an episode - frankly it is pretty shocking that an adult would put that much responsibility on teenagers, rather than looking after their own child - if I were you, I would be having a word with them, and telling them how u fair it is to put that sort of a burden on your ds and his friends.

I'm not sure what else to suggest - I hope I have been of some help.

Catam Thu 24-Nov-16 10:36:02

Thanks STDG that has helped me resolve to speak to the parent. I wasn't sure if I should, but clearly I need to. They are a bit combative and of course no one wants to be asked not to use a coping mechanism which seems to work (calling DS/other friend) when their child is in crisis, but I do need to tell them it isn't appropriate and suggest outside help.

DS & the group are all really lovely and very mental health aware so a chat reminding them to take care of themselves is a good idea, put your own oxygen mask on first and all that jazz.

Thanks both of you I'll try the suggestions.

You're welcome - I hope you can resolve this situation. I also hope that, however combative this parent is, they see that it is unreasonable to expect a couple of teenagers to deal with this sort of situation on a regular basis.

I was trying to think of an analogy for self-care to ensure you have the wherewithal to care for someone else, and failed dismally - O2 masks is a great one!

Catam Thu 24-Nov-16 21:15:54

Thanks, he's had a chat with the rest of the group and I'm hoping to get a chat with the parent next week.

O2 masks I have to admit were from a training course I did while in the charity sector not my own idea but it has stuck with me!

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