Teen Suicide Epidemic Solutions

To the Editor:

Today’s editorials begged a solution to the epidemic of teen suicide. I am certain that there is at least one simple solution right in front of us: medical professionals who take it seriously and a medical system prepared to care for our teens’ mental health.

When my own child struggled with anxiety and depression, her local pediatrician’ office told us they don’t believe in medicating kids. We were refused a referral to a mental health practitioner. Left to our own devices, we were unable to find anyone willing to see her. Only through some string pulling by a friend, could we get her in to see a therapist. And only with string pulling by the therapist was she able to see a psychiatrist (meanwhile the original pediatricians’ office refused to share records or respond to calls from the therapist).

Months later, after sitting up all night with my suicidal teenager, I went back to the pediatrician and tearfully begged for more intensive mental health care for my child. And I was literally laughed at. Read that again. The nurse behind the counter laughed at me. She then berated me for sending my suicidal teen to school. As a parent I didn’t know what else to do. Luckily her therapist was wise enough to direct me to Dartmouth. And after several days there we were able to procure a bed at Brattleboro (now facing its own uncertain future) where my daughter received the treatment she desperately needed.

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