“Jenn, there’s a call from your husband.”
“Okay, send him through,” I said. I figured I was getting the typical question about what I was planning for dinner or what time I would be home. I was dreading the dinner question because here it was 4pm and I had yet to figure that one out. Instead, I was greeted with a serious tone and suddenly I wished I was fielding questions about the dinner menu.
Our son told someone at school that he was having thoughts of suicide. My heart seemed to drop to the floor. I held my breath and let those words sink in.
Then my “Mom” instincts kicked in. I took a breath and said, “I’m on my way.” Coworkers asked if everything was okay, and I quickly filled them in as I fumbled for my keys. I remember being numb and not really knowing what to say as I quickly dropped what I was doing and raced out of work. I sat in my car for a few minutes before pulling away; the car was running, but I couldn’t gather my thoughts enough to figure out which direction to drive.
As I drove, I will admit, I had a few minutes where I hosted a pity party for myself. You see, I work in Behavioral Health for The Community Lighthouse. I had spent the better part of a month writing protocol for suicidal patients. Maybe that word should have gotten benign for me, but instead, I loathed it.
Now that word had invaded my home.
I asked myself, “How could I have missed this?!” I gave myself a few minutes to be angry in the privacy of my car. This was about my son, not me, but even those on the outside of the crisis are entitled to have their feelings. As I drove, I realized how fortunate I am. I know what to expect next–the questions, the appointments, the possibility of hospitalization, etc. I knew who to call. If he needed to be hospitalized, I knew where I wanted him to go. It was in that moment that I felt calmer.
My son is doing okay now; he is in therapy and thriving again. I realize though that what gave me hope and relieved my fears was that I knew where to turn. I want every parent/caregiver to know where to turn because chances are, you or your child will need therapy at some point too. At The Community Lighthouse, we see patients as early as two years old; kids can benefit from play therapy even before they can talk! We also see adolescents and adults and strive to find the best fit for you!
We at The Community Lighthouse believe that EVERYONE, at EVERY age, deserves to be happy!
Sometimes, the necessity for therapy is obvious, such as the loss of a loved one or a physical trauma. Other times, it may be a subtle change in behavior and you as the parent can’t quite put your finger on what is going on. Perhaps it is a teenager who is suddenly angry and withdrawn from normal activities. In any event, going to see a therapist for a change in behavior or mood that doesn’t go away should be just as obvious as going to a doctor for physical pain that won’t subside. The Community Lighthouse can set up an initial appointment quickly, and conclude whether or not there is a medical necessity for future appointments.
Check out our website and LIKE us on Facebook, where we post helpful mental health tips and advice! Also, we have monthly raffles for our patients; earn tickets at every visit to win great gifts and tickets to local venues!
About the author: Jennifer has been a resident of Albuquerque for 3 years now, having relocated from Las Vegas, NV. She has been married for 26 years and has three children ages 17-25. For most of her children’s lives, Jennifer was a SAHM, but decided to go back to school in 2014. Upon completing her degree in 2017, she was hired by The Community Lighthouse as an Administrative Assistant and quickly moved up to Community Liaison and then Special Projects Manager. Working in Behavioral Health has given her the platform necessary to fulfill her passion for helping others and helping to reduce the stigma related to mental health issues. Ultimately, she would relish a chance to serve the community on a wider scale to help make legislative changes regarding healthcare and mental health. Jennifer enjoys being a homebody on the weekend; cooking and spending time with her family and her furbabies, Abby (Beagle) and Sugar (Pitbull). When she needs time to relax and tune out the world, she loves to crochet and also has been known to binge Netflix on the weekends!