Before I became an expert in suicide prevention, before I wrote two books about suicide and mental health topics including addiction, I was a parent, a youth mental health nonprofit board member then executive director, and a marketing professional who owned a business.
At one point in my son’s spiral downward, I struggled with a broken mental health system, I advocated, was humiliated, shamed, and criticized but never gave up on my child. The shaming and humiliating didn’t matter anymore. What was more important was saving his life. I couldn’t fail at that, right?
At first, I thought it was a personal failure for me as a mom to lose a son to suicide
And still, I can’t say I feel like an overwhelming success. But at least I don’t blame myself for his suicide anymore. It took me a long time to get there.
So I know what it’s like to be a parent with a child who is struggling–the feelings of desperation, not knowing what the right thing to do might be, and the fear of making the wrong choice because it’s life and death.
I’ve spoken to thousands of youth struggling with anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicide
Now I have my perspective as a parent and that of the younger set because I listened without judging, without “offering advice” unless they specifically asked for strategies. And I can help with practical, evidence-informed, clear steps about how we as parents can help as well as an understanding of what we can’t do. And that’s do it for them. Where is that boundary? How can you define yours?
I offer parents information I wish I had when my son was struggling when I was struggling, like where to find support, what to do or say, and most of all shifts we can make to help our kids build mentally healthy lives.
I can now point out those things I didn’t do right and give myself credit for the things I did right without holding myself hostage. Becasue no parent is perfect. And it doesn’t help me to focus on the 5% I did imperfectly and ignore the 95% I did right and the beautiful life that happened prior to the point in our lives when Charles’s life was headed to his end.
I’m frank but always hopeful. I am not highlighting all the flaws in the system and throwing my hands in the air but rather making people aware of what they can do right now in the system we have.
Because even after the most devastating loss of my life there is hope
There is a way to find our way through this as a family and help a child find their coping skills and build resilience in that process. Because those are the skills that they will take forward with them.
This is a course I teach now in person and online at school districts, and universities and now I’ll be offering it as a paid, live online course and then offering the recorded version.
Parents will learn:
- What is a warning sign versus typical angst?
- Why are so many struggling with mental health issues?
- How to talk to your child about difficult subjects and get a response
- Times when particular age groups are more vulnerable to despair
- What to say/do if your child is struggling with suicide
- 9 practical tips that help parents with children of any age build resilience and coping skills that help them thrive in a digital world. (pdf bullet point one-page download shared)