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Teenage son suicidal thoughts, wants residential care

(18 Posts)
Blinkingecksake Sat 18-Apr-20 23:32:09


Am desperately hoping for some advice. My 17 year old son has been diagnosed with depression and since starting fluoxetine in early Feb has steadily lost weight to the point of now barely eating and looks dreadful. He is agoraphobic and in a really bad place, heavily vitamin D deficient too as a result. Tonight, after trying to talk to me for the past month he has admitted that he has thoughts about harming himself (but says he won’t), says his brain is constantly confused and unable to focus. He cried silent tears throughout, it was heartbreaking. This situation started about two years ago and has gone steadily down hill. He is under our local CAMHS.

The upshot of our chat tonight is he desperately wants to get better and would like to go into residential. I am fortunate enough to be able to borrow the money but I have no idea where to start. Can anybody help?

I’m going to call the duty CAMHS person tomorrow about his meds - I don’t want him to just stop but I’m worried they’re actually making his thoughts worse and they’ve killed his appetite.

I’ve checked on him and he’s sleeping soundly, I expect he feels a tiny bit better for finally starting to talk. Appreciate any advice, thank you.

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sydenhamhiller Sat 18-Apr-20 23:48:19

Hi, I am so sorry to hear this. I am afraid I don’t have any advice, but I have a 16 yr old son and know how worried I would be.

Has CAHMS given you any contact details for support groups, perhaps other parents in similar situations can help? (I know when I had a miscarriage the ‘miscarriage board’ on mumsnet was invaluable.)

It’s wonderful your son has been able to talk to you and be so open, and I hope he does feel a bit better for that, and that you manage to get through to the CAHMS support worker tomorrow.

I hope (and expect) you’ll get more helpful advice on here later on. X

Blinkingecksake Sat 18-Apr-20 23:54:36

Thanks so much. To be honest as soon as he hit 16 and opted not to include me on anything, it’s been a nightmare accessing any support. He never opens up really to anyone so I am so proud of him tonight. But incredibly worried. Such mixed emotions!

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SimplySteveRedux Sun 19-Apr-20 00:10:46

Do you think it's likely he's going to do something, or wake in the night and do something? If so you need to ring the local mental health crisis team. Huge handhold, there's a long history of self-harm here going back to my early childhood, including suicide attempts. thanks

Blinkingecksake Sun 19-Apr-20 10:14:05

Thank you @SimplySteveRedux and sorry to hear of your own experiences. I checked on him a few times in the night, he was restless but ok. I’m hoping now he’s finally opened up he may feel a little better.
I’m just researching adolescent residential facilities now to see what we can do.

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uggmum Sun 19-Apr-20 10:21:24

It might be worth trying a different anti depressant. The one he is on my not agree with him.

I was on the same one and I felt it worsened my symptoms. I just sank deeper and deeper.

Eventually I begged my doctor for help and I was put on different medication. I can't tell you how better it made me feel. I could cope again and felt more like myself.

It's worth discussing this with his GP

SimplySteveRedux Sun 19-Apr-20 10:27:24

* It might be worth trying a different anti depressant*

Good idea, they can change from Fluoxetine to an SNRII, I took Sertraline and it caused high suicidal thoughts and emotions: Duloxetine which left me in a zombie state: currently using a blend of Mirtazapine and Venlafaxine.

Blinkingecksake Sun 19-Apr-20 14:26:02

Thank you both, yes I completely agree and am going to phone his psychiatrist first thing in the morning to get it changed.

We both still feel he needs residential as well, he is utterly at rock bottom and is way beyond my expertise. Trying to find the right place is challenging but I shall keep researching and reaching out and see where we can go. Thanks again flowers

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vikingwoman Mon 20-Apr-20 18:13:06

I have a 17 yr old DS who was hospitalized for a week in January. Depression and he is underweight. I echo suggestion about possible antidepressant not agreeing with him. You sound like a wonderful mother. I gather his psychiatrist has explained treatment options for him and knows DS current state?

vikingwoman Mon 20-Apr-20 18:14:35

Sorry -posted too soon. Please keep us posted if you can. Hugs x

Blinkingecksake Tue 21-Apr-20 13:22:49

@vikingwoman thank you so much for your reply and kind words, had a lengthy conversation with his psychiatrist yesterday, interestingly she doesn’t advocate residential. She said because of his (undiagnosed) underlying ASD she thinks he may struggle to adjust back to home after and his improvements need to happen in ‘his real life’ space.

She wouldn’t change meds yet which really shocked me, but she had a chat with him and whilst she acknowledges his thoughts she doesn’t feel he is at immediate risk. Big judgement call based on a phone chat but I have to trust in their expertise I guess. She has asked him to really commit to trying to eat and she’s going to do a phone consultation Friday and decide what to do about meds then. She’s also going to arrange one hours therapy a week, vc based.

I got him out for a walk yesterday which was great but he’s still in a very bad way. I know money can’t fix this but it’s interesting that even when given resources to do more, I can’t figure out where we’d turn anyway! As awful as covid is for many, I’m grateful to be working from home so I can keep an eye and encourage him to eat.

How is your DS doing in all this? What have you found the most useful?

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vikingwoman Tue 21-Apr-20 22:23:29

Blinking my DS also has ASD. I live in Canada so am not knowledgeable with resources/treatment in the UK. It is understandable that a change in routine and not feeling in control of his new circumstances would be very stressful for him. My DS is overall managing - not having to physically attend school has relieved some stress for him, but he is frustrated by other limitations of the lockdown.

It’s good that you have a professional checking in on him who knows his history.

Does he like milkshakes or smoothies where you can easily add/hide nutrients and calories? Mine doesn’t, but it could be a simple way to supplement his nutrition.

Please reassure him that he is not alone (although I’m sure you have already expressed this). Many teens on the spectrum - and those who are not - are struggling. Anxiety and depression is an epidemic amongst young people. When DS was discharged from hospital, one of the two discharging psychiatrists told us it is indeed so.

Reassure him where you can - I know it’s hard. My son also never spoke to us until he started getting in trouble at school, etc. Keep the communication going -make him feel safe knowing he can talk to you without judgment. xx

Mischance Tue 21-Apr-20 22:31:17

You have all my sympathy - I recognise this situation; and also the paucity of support services - for him and for you, because you need support too.

The drug he is on can cause increased suicidal thoughts in the young - but it cannot be stopped suddenly. It is unfortunate that we are all socially isolating as he does need regular and careful follow up. It is a difficult judgement call and can only be made effectively with careful monitoring.

There is a an app that teenagers can get for their phone which they can use for support. Definitely worth a look.

I send you a handhold - it is such a stressful time for parents.

Blinkingecksake Thu 23-Apr-20 13:46:55

Thanks so much @vikingwoman and @Mischance for your kind and supportive words. The problem with the ASD is he won’t accept and I fear that until he does, we won’t really get better because he isn’t acknowledging what is causing him to not manage himself and therefore we can’t meaningfully do anything about it. I don’t know how to get round that, he needs a brilliant practitioner who he will connect with and who can open his mind to thinking about what he finds difficult and explore why.

I’m very worried about the tablets as he says his thoughts haven’t changed and he feels no better but he has made an effort to eat better and he’s actually walked every day which is just huge!

It’s very hard to know how to help. I want to sit him down and tell him that things ARE better because he is eating and has left the house. But I don’t want to patronise or belittle his feelings either. So hard!

Psychiatrist is phoning him tomorrow to review and she’s trying to arrange weekly therapy so will see what that brings. Thanks again xx

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vikingwoman Wed 12-Aug-20 05:07:58

How are you and DS doing, Blinking?

Whym Wed 12-Aug-20 07:32:43

Hi Blinkingecksake; I’m following this thread as I’ve got a DD who is suffering with her MH. She is not on medication any more but had been. They didn’t agree with her and were more trouble than enough. Me and OH had recently wondered if she has ASD (as did she herself...) or ADD as she has spoken of being unable to concentrate.

You have my full sympathy, it’s such a difficult and delicate situation to be going through.

Whym Wed 12-Aug-20 07:34:55

Forgot to add** Once DD turned 18, like you said it was very difficult to get information from sources especially as she would often only choose to tell what she wanted to tell you. Difficult situation all round x

maddy68 Wed 12-Aug-20 07:38:40

It may be worth explaining to him that if he unticks the box for your involvement then you may be able to access the residential care free of charge. .....

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