Children’s Mental Health Week: How A Teen Girl Overcame Suicidal Thoughts & Found Hope
It’s Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, an important time for all of us to enhance our knowledge about children’s mental health, reduce the stigma, and connect families, educators and community members to helpful resources. Children of all ages experience mental health challenges which can affect how they think, feel and act. According to a 2016 JAMA Pediatrics study, one in six children between ages 6-17 has a treatable mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But only half received treatment from a mental health professional.
Helping Youth Achieve Mental Health Wellness
KVC Hospitals is a national leader in children’s mental health treatment and helps thousands of children and teens each year achieve mental health wellness. Our team of experts provide compassionate can to help youth ages 6-18 who are struggling with anxiety, depression, the impacts of trauma, suicidal thoughts, and more.
Learn about the 5 things every child needs for good mental health here!
From Hopeless to Hopeful
The client’s name in this story has been changed to protect her privacy. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and all calls are confidential.
When Sydney, a 17-year-old girl, came to KVC Hospitals Hays struggling with self-harm, depression and suicidal ideation, she felt hopeless. She struggled to see a meaningful future for herself. She frequently spoke about Kevin Hines, who survived a suicide attempt and used his story to become an inspirational mental health advocate. Sydney fondly remembered the time she saw Kevin speak live and his powerful message stuck with her. She hoped one day to become an inspiration to others. While she was receiving treatment, Sydney formed a bond with Mr. Trevor, Milieu Manager at KVC Hospitals Hays, and they built a bond of trust. Mr. Trevor saw her potential and reminded her every day that she had the ability and skills to be successful.
While Sydney worked with a therapist in both individual and group settings, she learned how to identify and regulate her emotions using an emotion regulation plan. Her emotional regulation plan put her triggers and feelings into words—teaching her how to recognize when she was getting upset and when to ask for help from her safe people, like Mr. Trevor. His constant support encouraged her to make sustainable changes in order to overcome her challenges. Mr. Trevor was a strong male role model who helped Syndey use the skills she learned in therapy and helped her see a hopeful, positive future for herself.
Using Her Experience to Help Others
Over time, Sydney became a leader on the unit and all of the other kids wanted to be like her. She had the power of motivating others and everyone thought she was inspiring and encouraging. The other youth in treatment thought she had a bright future ahead of her because they saw her progress. They looked at Sydney as a mentor.
Sydney found herself and hope for her future at KVC. She experienced first-hand how much KVC helped her and the other kids. Before Syndey was discharged, she told her treatment team that she planned to study social work in college and use her experiences to help others. She even said she would love to come back and work at KVC Hospitals someday! Before she left the treatment center, she wrote a letter telling the staff how they positively impacted her life, and in that letter, she wrote:
I’ve grown a lot with you all and through finding help, you helped me find myself.—Sydney
Call KVC Hospitals, We’re Here to Listen and Help
If you know a child or teen who might be struggling with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, the impacts of trauma, or other behavioral or mental health challenges, call our team at (913) 890-7468. We’re available 24/7 to help children and teens who are experiencing a mental health emergency and our mental health experts are always available to answer any questions you have.