Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by Children’s Hospital New Orleans.
My Family in Crisis: What Children’s Hospital Means to Me
This past October, my nine-year-old son was hospitalized at Children’s Hospital Behavioral Health Center. He’d been anxious and depressed, and despite weekly counseling sessions and our best efforts to help him, he became suicidal. At that point, my husband and I knew emergent treatment and a subsequent inpatient stay would be necessary.
The day he was admitted was easily the worst day of my life. Logically, I knew my son needed the higher level of care inpatient treatment would provide, but my heart was shattered. He spent three nights inpatient, and while it was extremely difficult for me, I can look back now and see that he was exactly where he was supposed to be. Our boy needed help. While we’d tried our best, we didn’t have the tools we needed. The Children’s Hospital Behavioral Health Center gave us answers and equipped us with resources.
The doctor in house conducted a thorough assessment and met with us as a group as well as individually. We felt secure in her decision to admit him for inpatient treatment. Our son described his stay as “not so bad and kinda fun.” He still talks about the relief he felt upon meeting other kids who were hospitalized with similar feelings and how he didn’t feel alone anymore. The team of nurses and social workers helped him identify and process his emotions in ways he was not previously able.
Dr. Scott assumed his follow-up care after discharge and ensures that his medications are appropriately dosed and achieving the desired effect. We are all very pleased with his progress. Our son has shown tremendous growth, and most importantly, he learned to value himself. Though he still reports some anxiety, he is no longer suicidal and denies feeling depressed. He continues to see Dr. Scott every few weeks to monitor his progress and make any adjustments if needed.
As educated professionals with pediatric mental health experience, my husband and I never imagined hospitalizing our son. As far as we could tell, we were on top of it, and he was getting help with his struggles. He is a high-achieving student who makes friends easily. He goes to a great school and comes from a stable home with loving parents. Still, we are proof that anxiety and depression don’t discriminate. It was initially hard for us to accept our situation, that somehow things had spiraled to the extent that our nine-year-old did not want to live anymore. We are grateful to the team at Children’s Hospital Behavioral Health Center for patiently listening to us and offering reassurance as we came to grips with our new reality.
We truly believe Children’s Hospital saved our son. When he talks about his stay, his biggest, most important takeaway is that he never felt alone. Prior to his stay, he’d never even been to a sleepover, and leaving the hospital that first day, my biggest concern was how alone he’d feel. Hearing that he felt supported and cared for when we couldn’t be there means more to me than I can convey in words. As a mother whose number one job is to advocate for and support my child, I was devastated not to be there with him. During his stay, the compassionate team at Children’s Hospital Behavioral Health Center took over for me. The mental health techs made sure our son had everything he needed and helped him learn the unit’s routines and procedures. The nurses became my shoulder to cry on when I called late at night to check on him. The psychiatrists reassured my husband and me that depression and anxiety are manageable and equipped us with all the tools for recovery. At a time when we needed family the most, Children’s Hospital was there. To me, Children’s Hospital means family.
Did you know? One in five children has a significantly impairing mental health disorder, yet less than half get the treatment they need. Children’s Hospital New Orleans’ High 5 Project aims to ensure that 5 out of 5 kids with mental and behavioral disorders receive the care and support they need to thrive. If you feel your child can benefit from the resources of Children’s Hospital Behavioral Health Center and the High 5 Project, click here to find a provider and get started.