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Child mental health

Anybody else’s dc not back in school due to mental health?

160 replies

PenOrPencil · 09/03/2021 17:29

My dd14 went for testing somewhat reluctantly yesterday, then had a complete meltdown last night. She is terrified of going back to school, not because of COVID but because of depression and anxiety. She did well during lockdown academically as she was able to withdraw from the world completely.

She has been referred to CAMHS and a counselling appointment will apparently be made within the next 2 weeks.
Up until then we are left to our own devices, but we feel absolutely helpless.

She promised to try to go to school tomorrow, but I am not particularly optimistic about that. Sad

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Mrhwbin · 18/03/2021 20:23

16 yo yr 11 hasn't been back since lockdown V 1.0. Wouldn't leave the house for long periods. Currently going for 1 walk around the block a day and a drive in the car but won't get out. School have arranged online learning since the other kids went back and have agreed home invigilation for final assessments but we have to pay. I refused CAMHS and we have a private Consultant psychiatrist appt on Monday and I'm hoping we get a better idea of how to help after that. She currently has counselling but it doesn't seem to be making any difference.

In a funny way nice to know I'm not alone.


PenOrPencil · 19/03/2021 19:26

Red nose non-uniform day = dd definitely not going into school day.

Only one week to go until the holidays.

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TeenMinusTests · 19/03/2021 19:37

@Mrhwbin You sound like where we were in ~Sept but with actually getting some schooling done. Good luck for Monday.


PenOrPencil · 22/03/2021 14:42

Hello @Mrhwbin, how did the psychiatrist appointment go?
We are waiting for the first counselling session on Thursday, which seems ages away.

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Mrhwbin · 22/03/2021 14:56

@PenOrPencil it's just finished. I have to admit if I had been paying for that appt myself I'd have been a little disappointed but the main thing is she is prescribing Prozac which is great and I'm hoping will help my daughter get back to school. Will do a review in 3 weeks and see what happens then.

Thanks for checking in 💐


Mrhwbin · 22/03/2021 14:57

Good luck with the counselling


1jumpforward2back · 22/03/2021 21:47

Mrhwbin is the school state or private? State schools can not charge for access arrangements, including off site invigilation.


TeenMinusTests · 26/04/2021 09:26

@PenOrPencil How are you getting on? Did you manage to find a counsellor for yourself?

DD has been back on her anti-depressants for 6 weeks now and the last 3 weeks we have seen some good progress. She managed to sit an English Language paper (over 2 days, was shattered after) and later this week we are hoping she'll do an RE one. She has also been into a couple of shops!


PenOrPencil · 26/04/2021 20:06

Hi @TeenMinusTests, thanks for checking in.
We are having a really tough time at the moment. Had an unexpected bereavement in the family at Easter that shook all of us.
I have had one counselling session but have decided to pause this for a bit to grieve.

Dd has had 2 counselling sessions so far and engaged with the counsellor, but I don’t think that has made an impact yet.

We have been invited into school for an informal chat - after school with nobody around. She doesn’t like the idea and is thinking about it at the moment.

During the holidays, with no school looming, dd seemed quite upbeat and asked to go to the shops for the first time in months, but the night before the first day of school she self harmed and broke down and has been down ever since.

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Mrhwbin · 26/04/2021 21:03

The phrase of the day in our home is All hail the mighty Prozac. It's doing wonders in reducing anxiety levels and raising mood.


TeenMinusTests · 27/04/2021 06:18

I'm sorry about your loss. Flowers Terrible timing.

If she will engage with work at home, I'd just plan to stick to that for the whole of the summer term while you give counselling, meds etc a chance.

I've kept a diary since last May detailing what DD has managed each day (awake & asleep times, any schoolwork, walks etc). It helps me when I am down as I can really see the little changes. e.g. At one point her waking hours were 11:30am-11:30pm, now they are more like 8:30am-9:30pm.

MH overrides everything. But routine is important, and if that can include schoolwork so much the better.

We got the county Ed Psych team involved, had a zoom with them, school, adoption support and us. They told the school to lay off pressurising and that made things a lot easier.

We're 'lucky' with DD being in y11, as she will never have to go back to school, she moves on to college in Sept. It will still be a big place, but mixing with a far more consistent group of students, and a spacious campus. Our whole aim is to be ready for that.

Best wishes Flowers


PenOrPencil · 28/04/2021 19:48

We went into school today! Dd was anxious and shaky, but she did it and she is very proud of herself for having gone in.

Unfortunately school have not come up with anything that would currently work for us. They are pushing for her to be back in full time, with a time out card that would allow her to go to student services or the library. They have ignored the fact that dd and I have told them many times that she does not want to use a time out card. Both student services and the library are too busy for her when she needs a break.
She can see the school counsellor, but only by appointment.

School kept talking about how she needs to push herself and get out of her comfort zone. As much as I agree with this they have obviously no idea just how far out of dd’s comfort zone their ideas are.

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TeenMinusTests · 29/04/2021 06:42

Oh well done to your DD!

The big question is how will she be today and tomorrow?
It cost my DD so much effort to even try to go in in lockdown a couple of times that she totally collapsed for the next few days afterwards. It wasn't worth it for her. Hope it is better for your DD.

Could she do reduced timetable eg just P3 & 4? Then extend as she feels up to it or something?


PenOrPencil · 08/05/2021 09:06

School are kicking off now and want us to commit to a plan to get dd back in. I would love nothing more than for dd to go to school every day, but she just can’t.
I am so battle weary already, and now I also have to deal with a school who care more about their attendance figures than mental health...

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YorkiePanda · 08/05/2021 09:19

@PenOrPencil this sounds really hard. School are pushing for things that like you say are very far out of her zone right now.

I don’t know if the counsellor has any experience in doing CBT/exposure therapy work? Whenever I’m helping patients to overcome fears and phobias I will do an exposure hierarchy with them, get them to rate how anxiety provoking each activity is, and we order them from 1-10, so for example with school phobia a 1 rated activity might be “put on school uniform” so we’d start there for a week, then we’d work up to a 5 rated activity like “do half a day and come home at lunch time” and then after that was mastered work up to a 10 rated activity which might be “whole day in school without calling to come home”. Important that the child/teen is involved in creating the plan, the pace of change, defining their window of tolerance, maybe even picking suitable rewards for when they’ve mastered each step. At each stage the child/teen is also encouraged to use coping strategies for any anxiety they feel, but important that the anxiety is mild to moderate at each step rather than flooding/unmanageable.


TeenMinusTests · 08/05/2021 09:39

You are where we were in September.

Get your county Ed Psych involved, that made all the difference for us with school. (Should hopefully have contact details on your LA website). They told schools that DD needed to sort her anxiety/depression and to feel safe before there was any point stressing her about attendance. School finally got it and backed off.

DD went (back onto) onto meds 10/3, onto full dose 24/4 and is now actually doing some limited GCSE assessments at home, and has even recently been into a couple of shops.


TeenMinusTests · 08/05/2021 09:41

We are hoping to do some CBT over the summer now DD's MH is strong enough to cope with it. But finding a therapist used to teens / trauma / adoption isn't easy.


PenOrPencil · 08/05/2021 10:06

I spoke to the GP re. a letter for school and the GP seemed pretty miffed at the “help” offered by school so far. I will also contact the county Ed Psych and point out again that what school are offering us at the moment is just not meeting dd’s needs.
After the last meeting dd said that school basically just want her to “snap out of it”. She is not wrong there.

I like your approach, @YorkiePanda, and will try to work out a plan with dd. Starting with wearing uniform for school work and working our way up from there.

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YorkiePanda · 08/05/2021 10:12

@PenOrPencil you can use this free tool to build it with her

Most of what I do with younger kids and teens needs a strong element of parental involvement so often if the family is supportive and child ok with them being involved I’d be getting them to do the hierarchy at home and save the sessions for what the child/teen needs to talk about or work on for themselves.


PenOrPencil · 08/05/2021 10:19

This is so helpful, thank you @YorkiePanda Flowers

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YorkiePanda · 08/05/2021 10:29


MackenCheese · 08/05/2021 10:31

Just joining in. My ds with asd has struggled and done no work since the beginning of the pandemic. I have finally got him into school 4 days last week and 3 days this week, and I feel like breaking out the champagne! It has been a horrible time, and just going round in circles with school saying they can't do anything, Camhs saying he does not have anxiety, and the family worker just empathising... I completely understand how you all are feeling.


Thisisworsethananticpated · 10/05/2021 20:42

I have a little 13 year old refuser too

I appreciate who said this
I am a problem solver and known to get things done, I find it very hard to accept things as they are without being able to fix them...

This is exactly how I feel
Don’t know where to start

School are lovely and in all fairness it’s not their job
My sons awful mental health and anger needs medical help

It’s ever so hard
I thought his now departed abroad abusive dad was bad

But this is on a new level


Hellenbach · 11/05/2021 11:44

Sadly in the same boat here. DS Year 10, managed 4 days when term started after Easter but nothing since.
He's been to see a psychiatrist at CAMHs and has started Prozac for anxiety snd depression. He can't access talk based therapy at present as too unwell.
He's at absolute rock bottom and so am I.
School are very hands off. I'm a lone parent (widowed) with a younger DS who has SEN.
I just want him to get better.


Thisisworsethananticpated · 11/05/2021 12:46

My nephew had great support from Prozac
How long has your son been on it ?

I’m hoping for you that once it kicks in he can then acess the talking therapy

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