Suicide Prevention/Help asap

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QUESTION: Hi. My nickname is Roo and I am 15. I have recently relapsed and began cutting myself again. I don't nessisarily want to commit suicide but it's an instinct I have when I get overwhelmed. So far I am only using my nails but I'm afraid it may end up going farther than that if I don't get help soon. As you can probably tell I am really scared and would appreciate it if you don't get the authorities involved. The last run in with them is one I will never forget and it brings back a lot of bad memories.......... Plz help me I need help asap.

for Roo
for Roo  
ANSWER: Dear Roo,

I'm so glad that you have taken this step of reaching out to somebody. You have the foresight and intelligence to recognise you've developed a problem, and you are brave enough to try to conquer it through seeking help. This in itself makes me feel you are stronger, tougher than you might sometimes think.

I don't know if you are aware of what a remarkably common problem self harm has become among youth all around the world.There are many theories as to why teenagers self harm, but I think most professionals agree that it is a temporary form of relief from emotional pain. When somebody feels physical pain there focus is on that, rather than the pain in their hearts from emotional pain. I believe that this is because a we are only capable of feeling a certain amount of feeling one source of pain at a time, and by self harming we are choosing.

However, as you know, harming yourself is not an answer to any problems, and is a dangerous thing to be doing. You clearly have work to do before you are free of this problem, and until you have worked through the underlying issues that have lead to this problem. For that reason I would like you to make a pact with me right now, that if - in the meantime - you reach that point of feeling overwhelmed to the point of hurting yourself, that you will have an action plan to prevent you from acting on impulse in a dangerous manner.

I am going to give you my phone number, and would like you to text me if ever you wish to talk, any time of the day or night. I will also access some other numbers for you to call if you reach this vulnerable point again, and need to you promise me you will phone somebody if ever/whenever you feel this way.

Please don't be afraid. you have turned an important corner in recognising that this is a problem you need to deal with. You will need first and foremost contact numbers of services and people you can call when you are in trouble, and a counselor who can help you to work through your problems.

I have some questions I hope you won't mind answering:

Do you feel you can talk to your parents?
If not your parents, is there a family member you trust to turn to.. an aunt or uncle, older sibling? grandparents or even neighbour?
I would strongly recommend that you speak with your school guidance counselor and have him or her find you a counseling service if they do not offer that at your school. Once you have a counselor it will take time to work through problems. Don't give up. Stick with it. And if you don't feel comfortable with a particular counselor, ask to change. It's okay to admit that you don't feel right with somebody.

I don't know what your experience with the authorities was like, but it sounds as though it was very traumatic, and I'm sorry that this was the case for you. It might help you to know that unless you are deemed to be a risk to yourself or somebody else, nobody can take you away by force, or treat you against your will. Whatever is said in a counseling session is strictly confidential and it would be illegal for a health professional to breach this code of conduct.  

Roo, please email me at future-breeze@live.com.au and I will send you some more phone numbers as well as online resources that you may find particularly useful. I will also email you my number, (which I don't normally do.)   

Take care, and we will speak again soon.

A big hug for you (((Roo)))

:-) Rachel          

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi my email address is . I will answer your questions when I get home from school and or cadets tonight. Won't have email unless i go on a school computer. Sorry if I seem closed in I'm usually not as Bad.

Answer
Is Roo really Blue?
Is Roo really Blue?  
Dear Roo,
After receiving an email from your stepmother telling me that you had made up problems for the fun of it, I was initially a little annoyed at the waste of my time in talking to you privately at great length, in my own time. However having contacted you to ask for an explanation and having heard nothing, I have to say I feel concerned for your well-being. It has occurred to me that the problems you initially wrote to me about are true, and you were (as you had explained in one of your emails) unable to talk to your stepmother at all, and were worried that she would call the authorities again. If this is true, you do need help that you are not currently receiving, for your own safety and well-being. I have therefore taken the unusual step of having a trace put on your IP so that I can arrange help for you. (Unless of course I received a prompt letter of explanation AND apology, with some reassurance that you do not need me to organise outside help and intervention for the issues that we have discussed in private.)

Please understand I am taking this course of action our of genuine concern, given the severity of your issues if they were in fact true. Having not heard from you causes me to fear you have been prevented from contacting anybody for help, to save your family any embarrassment (which was a primary cause of concern expressed by your stepmother.)

I sincerely hope I am wrong, for your sake Roo. You seemed a lovely girl and I wish you the very best.

Yours sincerely,

Rachel Hurst  

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Rachel Hurst

Expertise

All questions sent to me will receive a warm and caring response. I'll do my utmost to address a persons particular problem, but in most cases will also attempt to supply that individual with additional resources which might be of further benefit. There are many helpful online support groups where readers can benefit from the ongoing support of others who have suffered similar problems. These groups offer invaluable peer support from others who have 'been there'. As well as responding to your initial letter, I'll attempt to provide ongoing encouragement when this is needed. Advice will be focused on addressing the writers individual needs, and providing related information and resources. I would try to ensure that any person seeking advice has accurate and up-to-date information on the signs and symptoms of depression, and importantly, is made aware that help is available through many different avenues. Where I feel that it's relative and helpful I would mention my own life experiences with depression and coping with a loved one's suicide (however, only in context.) I would be on the lookout for warning signs that the person is in crisis and may require immediate intervention. As such I would arm myself with as much information as possible in order to refer them to the help they need. In cases where I believed the persons life to be in imminent danger I would contact authorities in their area, or if unknown, I would call the emergency services in my area in order for the person to be located through tracking.

Experience

I am by no means a trained professional. My knowledge comes mainly through life experience, having endured the devastating loss of my best friend through suicide, as well as my own subsequent battle with depression following his death. I found that my own experience of losing a loved one to suicide put me in a strong position to help others, due to my ability to empathize (as opposed to sympathizing). I became knowledgeable on the topic of grief, and the extensive repertoire of depressive illnesses, signs, symptoms, and treatment options available to people in crisis.

Organizations
S.O.L.O.S. Survivors of Loved Ones Suicide - Active member since 2003.

Publications
'Marie Claire' Australian, 'Cleo' (Australian), Online discussion forums (in which my submissions have stimulated discussion and generated much feedback).

Education/Credentials
I am a professional writer. I was trained in journalism. Please see my profile in Linked In. http://au.linkedin.com/pub/rachel-hurst/41/178/165 I have studied related subjects during training as a registered nurse. Both of my parents are mental health professionals. However most of reading widely and life experience has been my greatest teacher.

Past/Present Clients
I have helped a number of individuals who have sought my take on a particular problem, or whom I have felt concern for, for various reasons.

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