Loss of Mother Made it Worse

Published: August 05, 2015
Dear TeenHealthFX,

hello. so 3 months ago, my girlfriends mother passed away and she is now very depressed. she had been depressed already for years, but the loss of her mother has made it worse. her depression is getting much worse and she has become suicidal. i have talked to her father about whats going on with her and her dad wont take it seriously. he thinks shes over reacting. because of this, and because she is 17, she is unable to go to therapy and get the help she needs. as a person who has lost many close friends to suicide, and from going through my own depression, i am able to relate to her pain and have been helping her myself, but i know that just me is not good enough and that she needs professional help. she wont go to any of the free therapy groups in our area. i have even done a ton of research and found a list of therapists that are near by that also take her insurance so all her dad would have to do is go and sign the paperwork and then i would be able to take her there myself for the rest of the sessions, but since her father doesnt take this seriously, the list is useless. i just really need help figuring out a way to get her the help she needs. one of my ideas is that i could just bring her to the psych ward at our local hospital and then they could at least diagnose her and then her father will have to do something about it, but talking her into this plan will be impossible. any help at all will be greatly appreciated. thank you. P.S. we live in central new jersey near the shore.

Dear Loss of Mother Made it Worse,

You have done just about everything you could do, to get your friend help. There is no doubt that if it was in your control, she would not have to struggle so much. You accurately pointed out that her father’s inability to recognize the seriousness of the situation has created major barriers to his daughter getting help. We should keep in mind that he is also dealing with the loss of his wife and the prospect of being a single parent. Recognizing that his daughter needs help, could be very overwhelming to him. However, not recognizing it could be tragic. 


Going to the Emergency Room (ER) is a good idea if you think your friend is actively expressing or having reoccurring thoughts of hurting herself or hurting someone else. When someone is hospitalized, the intention is to keep the patient safe until her/his condition is stabilized. If the ER does not feel that she is a risk, then most likely they would arrange for an outpatient appointment follow up. Whatever the medical staff decides, ultimately it is up to your friend and her father to recognize the issues and be willing to work on them. If they are not, then most likely they will minimize the situation and nothing will become of it.


With the research you have done, you have learned a lot about the services available in your area. That is a huge contribution and now you need to hand it off to the next person.  You have been a great friend and demonstrated a big heart and an abundance of compassion, but you cannot take on this responsibility by yourself. Since this situation comes with a tremendous amount of stress, it would be good if you shared with your parent(s) about your concerns and what to do next. It is important that you do not keep the situation locked up inside of you, otherwise it can have an adverse effect you. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your parents then find an adult who you have a good relationship with. Share what has been going on and your concerns. Then decide along with this person, who would be the best person to speak with your friend’s father. You could be there or not, whatever you think works better. The goal would be for your friend’s father is to understand what the concerns are. Whether he agrees with it or not, there numerous strong reasons why your friend should be evaluated by a mental health professional as soon as possible. It would be great if he realized he could use some help as well. He has his own grief to deal with as well as having to learn how to parent on his own. A therapist would also be able to help him adjust to that role. Right now both their worlds are like snow globes, they have been shaken up and very cloudy, but eventually the storm settles.


Any time a person is seriously considering suicide or are afraid of his/her impulses, then he/she needs to seek help immediately. You can call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room. You can also contact the Suicide & Crisis Hotline, 1-800-999-9999, 24 hours, 7 days a week





Signed: TeenHealthFX