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Teenage Problems/Dealing with homelessness and mental disorders

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Question
Hello, I am a 15 year old girl and I have been homeless for about a year and a half now. I have been clinically diagnosed with major depressive disorder and anxiety, and I am not currently on any medication as I have taken meds for my depression before but all it did was numb me.

  Most of the time, I can be found sleeping on couches, but sometimes when I can't find anywhere to sleep I simply sleep on the streets. I am enrolled in school and I have a part time job to try and cover various living expenses, although sometimes I simply don't make enough and I have to steal food from the grocery store to survive. The state knows of my circumstance and has not tried to help me at all, other than the McKinney Vento Liaison at my school.

  At this point I have lost the will to do anything other than what is necessary. I haven't bathed in weeks and I hardly ever eat or drink anything on weekends. I normally only eat the meals my school gives me during the week. Most days I struggle to even get out of bed in the morning. Living with relatives is not an option, as the only option would be my mother and I had previously ran away from there because she was physically and verbally abusive towards me and had me locked away with absolutely no contact with the outside world and cameras watching my every move. Honestly I would probably take my own life before I went back there.

  I have no idea what to do with myself from this point and I don't think I can live like this much longer. Please advise me on what I should do. If you need additional information I can provide you with it.

Answer
Dear Mr. Taylor,

Thank you for contacting the office of the President of the United States with your recent email.  Here at Lifeline we partner with President Obama's White House office staff to provide support and encouragement to those in crisis.  In your note you mentioned receiving information from a youth in the United Stated who is struggling with homelessness and suicidal thoughts. It is good that she is reaching out for support and there may be help available for her.

 

Consider encouraging her to talk to someone in person about how she is feeling.  She can also call 1-800-273-TALK to speak to someone here anytime.  Trained counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide support and encouragement by phone.  There is also availability to chat online with a counselor at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx. There is often help available for youth in her situation and we may be able to assist with getting her connected with resources.

 

If the youth is in Washington state, she may also want to consider contacting Child Protective Services as well if she is willing. Their telephone number is866-363-4276.

 

Please let us know that you received this email and if we can provide further support.

 

Sincerely,

Felicia - Counselor

 

Boys Town National Hotline

in Cooperation with Lifeline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

 

We are a crisis center in the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network.  If you are in emotional distress or suicidal crisis please call Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).  We are available 24/7 and your call is free.

 

 

Hi Brooke,

I was so concerned about you, I wrote to the President. Please see the answer above.


Hi Brooke,

Thank you for taking the time to write to me and I hope that I can help.

Firstly, it sounds like you have been having a difficult time recently and that the last year and a half have been incredibly difficult for you, so it is understandable that you may be struggling with your mental health as a result of your situation. At 15, you have a lot going on in your life and a time when you should be focusing on your studies, you are having to focus on basic survival which cannot be easy and I can't even imagine how horrible things must has be at the moment. That said, never forget that even as bad as things are now, things will get better.

In terms of your medication, if you have been diagnosed with depression and been prescribed them by a doctor, you should consider continuing to take them as they will help in the longer term to settle your moods and help you maintain perspective. If you do not like the side effects of taking them, discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist and alternatives may be prescribed which may work better.

In terms of bathing, if the school are aware of your situation then they may be able to make the school showers available for you to use before or after school hours so that you can freshen up. You will need to discuss this with the principal if you have not done so already and see if anything can be arranged.

You should not be going through all of this alone, especially sleeping on the streets and having to steal food. It is good that you have a part time job and that you are still attending school because at least this will give you some sense of routine and stability in what must be the most chaotic of situations.

I have done some research to see what is available in your area in terms of support to try and get you off the streets and I have put a link below. please have a look at the agencies that offer support and that may be able to help and consider contacting them. Even if they cannot help you immediately with your housing situation, they should be able to provide tailored advice to ensure that this is sorted as soon as possible. They should also be able to help out with trying to sort food and clothing out as well so it is worth contacting them.

https://www.dshs.wa.gov/ca/adolescents/riskrunaway-youth

Your situation is not normal and you have done incredibly well to come as far as you have and through what you have done, so please do not give up or think that this is all that your life has to offer, it doesn't. Reach out to as many people and organizations that you can to try and help and do not be embarrassed or ashamed to tell your story to get the support that you need. At 15, you have the weight of the World on your shoulders and it is not fair on you to have to manage alone. Think about contacting some of the agencies on the link above and explaining the severity of your situation to the school and get the advice you need to sort out your housing and get yourself back on track.

I can't imagine how you must be feeling and won't pretend to understand what you are going through but there is a way out of your situation it may just take a bit more of your perseverance, courage and persistence.

I wish you the very best of luck and I hope that this information has been helpful.  

Teenage Problems

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Daryl Taylor, BSc (Hons) Psychology, PGDip (pending certification)

Expertise

My expertise covers everything and anything to do with growing up, being a teenager or a young adult or being the parent of one of the pre-described. I can cover issues on identity, sexuality, love, relationships, families, drug/alcohol abuse and anything and everything in between.

Experience

I have volunteered for AllExperts.com for over ten years now, but even before that I was trying to use my experience to help others by working with Advice4teens.co.uk, Teenadviceonline.org and even Lycos and Ask Jeeves. My experience comes from being a teenager primarily but this lead me to work with young people from the age of 13. I have worked front line, face to face and over the telephone, e-mail and webchat for a government department called Connexions UK (aimed at young people aged 13-19); as well as being student counselor in New York, a Peer Mentor, a student teacher and working for my school, college and University to help raise the aspirations of young people. My life has not been easy and I have been through my fair share of issues; so there is little that I haven't been through in reality opposed to just reading it from a book or from my academic studies. I have been featured as a case study as achieving through adversity for a number of magazines and I have featured in a couple of books on both sides of the Atlantic; even though I am UK based.

Organizations
The Albert Kennedy Trust

Publications
Relationships: Cathy Senker, 2012, Raintree The Dean and Chapter Positive Nation GTEN Television Aim Higher

Education/Credentials
BSc(Hons) Psychology Post Graduate Diploma in Multidisciplinary Design Innovation Basic Counselling Skills Effective Listening Skills Mental Health First Aid

Awards and Honors
Outstanding Student achievement Adult learner's Award

Past/Present Clients
Allexperts.com Advice4teensuk.org Teenadviceonline.org lycos.co.uk askjeeves.com Connexions Direct

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