Dear Dr. Bradley,
Our son is 16 years old and has always been shy and quiet. However he has always had one or two close friends. Just recently he has lost all contact with his friends and we can't pry more than two words out of him. We have found out from another parent that his former friend doesn't want to hang out with him anymore because of his negativity and hatred of everything and everybody. He doesn't appear to be involved in alcohol or drugs, in fact he's not involved in anything. He has no desire to be a part of anything. The one haven he does have is music and he is a very accomplished drummer.
Unfortunately, the music he listens to is heavy/death metal. His friend thinks he is very depressed.
Do you have any suggestions on how to get him to talk to us about this? Do you have any recommendations for psychologists in the Phoenix area that deal specifically with adolescents? I have read your book, Yes, Your Teen is Crazy and found it very helpful, but I am at a loss as to what to do.
Your son is in a very bad spot right now and needs to be evaluated immediately to see if he is at risk.
Please sit down with him NOW and tell him that it is clear that he feels very bad. Ask him directly if he has had thoughts of suicide. If he says yes, take him immediately to the nearest emergency room for an evaluation and hospitalization. Tell him that this is just to give him a safe place to be for a short while until everyone can sort out what is going on.
If he says that he is not thinking about hurting himself, and if you can believe that, then get an immediate outpatient appointment to get a safety evaluation for your son. See whoever can do an immediate assesment. Later you can take your time to find a good adolescent therapist to do the long term "fixing." But first. provide for your boy's immediate safety.
If he resists seeing someone, then offer a bribe to get him to go. Also tell him that you guys are sure that, as his parents, you probably do things that make him crazy, and that you all likely need some help as a family. If he still refuses, ask him what he is afraid of. When he yells "nothing," then tell him that all you are asking is that he waste an hour talking to someone. But be clear with him that doing nothing is not an option.
Please move quickly and keep us posted.
Last edited by admin; 09-19-2005 at 11:42 AM.
Dr. Mike Bradley
Depression - handling
Dear Doc Bradley,
I just learned about this forum today.
I wish that I knew what I know now that my son has been missing for 4 months and maybe is no longer alive.
I believe he was depressed for a while.
I couldn't get him to see a therapist.
His internist failed to detect anything. [I am so angry at the doctor; school counselor; school teachers for failing to alert us to the life and death situation!]
Although I am suffering, I must spread the word to my son's school and community about recognizing and acting immediately in a case of expected teen depression.
Please suggest what I can use to email to them.
I need a respected reference.
I am so pained to hear of your loss. If it helps, please know that male teen runaways have a very high rate of survival, so the odds are great that he is alive.
I can't think of a better reference than you simply telling your story to the people you want to impact upon. It illustrates so well the terrible risks of undiagnosed adolescent depression.
I wish you all the best in your search for your child.
Dr. Mike Bradley