The Next School Shooter

Several years ago, a mother in my state wrote an anonymous post about her child being the next school shooter. It took a post like that for a doctor in another state to reach out and help her child. Yet no change took place in Idaho. Our mental health system here is a broken wreck, we know it, they know it, but no one is doing anything about it. It’s been years, yet here we are with the same broken system. A young girl, a 6th grader became the next school shooter. Thankfully for her, no one died. I sit here wondering what help she will truly be given and what changes won’t take place because of it.

I sit here and wonder if my child will be next.

Did you know the state of Idaho does not have ONE anger management class or sessions for our youth? Not one, so they say. My child has actually reached out and asked for help with this anger that comes out of nowhere and rages out of control. He hates it, we hate it, but how do you control it? How do you stop it from unleashing in the first place? Doctors want to throw anti-psychotic after anti-psychotic at them but it does NOTHING to help the child. My child doesn’t do well on meds. Period. We’ve tried so many of there damn drugs but not one has helped. He lives with extreme over the top anxiety and panic attacks and nothing has touched it. It took YEARS to even try a fast acting anxiety med in the first place because they were too concerned with addiction than helping my child.

So my child suffered for so long without help that it’s become out of control and beyond where it needs to be due to lack of help in the beginning when we needed it most. Addiction is more concerning to them than the actual wellbeing of your child NOW. Off label meds are used more often than medications meant for the issue to begin with.

One of the biggest issues with long term drugs is that it can weeks to months to be effective. So they trial a med, fight off the side effects, only to have it be ineffective or cause more problems only to finally stop it and trial another, and another and another, to no avail. At some point the child will refuse meds. And then rage at the worthless system he finds himself under.

The state of Idaho has no real respite for older kids. I am just now learning of one on the east side of our state yet no one had mentioned it to me before. Why don’t we have one in the most populated area of our state? There are plenty of respite ideas for those with young kids but not a damn true respite for our older teens that benefit both the child and the parents. So the government contracted with the Hay’s house. A local shelter in Boise that takes kids. Apparently, paying good money from the government of Idaho to the Hay’s house to provide the needed respite for our kids in the system. Guess what? They denied my kid.

After taking weeks to even try and get someone to call me back and then go through the application process and set up a tour. I simply got a phone call telling me they don’t take kids with autism. They also don’t take kids with health issues even though my son doesn’t have any needed equipment or really any special care beyond, let him rest if he needs to and don’t require physical activity if he’s hurting. So why are they getting funds from the government, likely from us tax payers to provide a service, ON PAPER, that they are refusing to provide? It’s funny and ironic that the court order in my kids case simply says, “keep seeking respite…” Yup, we’ll keep seeking but never find.

And they wonder why kids finally explode. They wonder why suicide rates are high and ever climbing. They wonder why kids take their aggression out as a school shooter. I wonder what help the poor girl didn’t get and how long they battled the system trying to find it before she finally snapped. So what change did this incident bring about? Likely not a damn thing.

Respite for teens should provide a safe place for teens to have both enjoyment and a break from their families while providing a break to the parents as well. If one is suffering, the other will too. So if a kid goes to a place like Hay’s house and can’t even keep his phone or certain personal affects while there, please explain how that is not much different from detention? So even if he did get accepted, I can only imagine the anxiety in the back of my mind worrying about how frustrated my kid would be not having access to his basic personal affects while supposedly getting a break from the household… I honestly don’t think that would provide a real sense of relief, ie, respite. But it would be better than nothing…. until we can one day get real services and respite for our teens. If it’s not too late.

I’m so disgruntled by our system, our state, our health care. They are admittedly reactive and not preventative. But even their reactive measures are subpar, always shoving a square peg into a round hole and not getting results while continuing to try.

I would love to start a non profit and create a teen respite center in our state. A center with input from the very teens who would utilize it. But how do I do that? I’m just a disabled mom with ideas, a lack of education in that area, and very little energy to walk on my two legs. But we need it. We need it desperately as do thousands of other kids in our state who are suffering like my kid is just like the parents who struggle and need that break but are too afraid to ask for help or have asked but haven’t been heard. My ideas are endless on this program I’d like to create.

I’d also like to fix the broken juvenile justice/mental health system in our state. A REAL solution that would benefit our children that really does look a lot like common sense but our system is stagnant, apparently slow to change and how does one be the voice of change? I HAVE A SOLUTION!! But my voice travels out and fades away and doesn’t reach the ears of those who might actually be willing to make a difference. How can I be heard? How can I share my ideas that would help our kids in at least two areas where our state has failed? I need legs. I need someone to be those legs to reach the people necessary and then convince them to simply start by listening. Listen to my proposal and lets start working on solutions rather than wait till something even more drastic takes place that finally gets someone’s attention.

Will my kid be next?

I Understand..

There are so many issues that divide our society. From my own personal journey, I can truly understand both sides of many issues. There really is no black or white but various shades of gray that make up our feelings and frustrations due to our experiences in life. Those stuck on either side of the black/white issue, simply have not experienced or walked in our shoes. They are blinded by their own journeys in life. That does not make them wrong, it makes them simply ignorant of the experiences of others and unable to see how others got to the place in which they view their side of things.

Our Backwards System

Our system has it backwards in regards to helping people with a mental health crisis. Let’s be honest, oh wait!! You can’t! That’s one of the biggest hinderances to people receiving help. You absolutely can NOT be truly honest.

The stigma with mental health is another huge barrier to those who truly want to seek help. In addition, it can be illegal in the sense that one can actually be CHARGED with a crime rather than simply getting someone the help that they need. Please explain how charging someone ISN’T counterproductive in helping someone struggling with mental health issues. Sure, let’s add the criminal stigma to an already added pressure of the mental health stigma. Not to mention, the criminal aspect follows you for the rest of your life and counts towards an offense in your file. No pressure, stress, or harm caused there, right??

Shall we talk about the lack of services, providers, and understanding in our community. You need help, but sorry, it’s a years wait and the providers currently available are fresh out of high school with little to no experience. In addition, all MUST fit into the same neat little box and benefit from talk therapy. It’s one size fits all. And here’s some medication while we’re add it. Don’t worry about the horrible side effects or the fact that you don’t process the medication very well. Try the next one in the same category. And the next. And the next… But we won’t give you something for that severe anxiety that could help you now cause it could be addictive.. so we just won’t prescribe it. But try this off label med instead… it can take a couple months to be effective… if it works for you.

Honesty… When being honest nets you a jail cell or someone coming into your life to control it in ways that they think are being helpful but in actuality make things tremendously worse and cause more harm…. Haven’t they learned yet? Maybe they’re the ones with the mental health problem since they repeat the same mistakes over and over thinking they’ll net different results. Not everyone needs to have their lives controlled and items removed and meds stopped due to the thoughts in ones head. Isn’t ‘talk therapy’ one of the ways in which they say will help? Just don’t talk about that! Or that! Or that!

If a person truly wants to end their lives, they WILL find a way to do it. It doesn’t matter what you remove from their presence, they’ll find a way if determined enough. Yes, we all have those negative thoughts in a crisis of anger that, well, sound terrible, but does that mean the person is actually going to act on it? Shhhh… let’s not discuss that either. You just might be charged for your negative evil thoughts.

How about simply offering ACTUAL help in the FORM that someone needs? Wouldn’t you think that might actually reduce the amount of stress and overwhelming depression a person is suffering? No, let’s lock them up instead and add more work, hassle, embarrassment, stigma and, oh yeah, more STRESS to the equation. How about finding out what their needs truly are and why they are suffering and find solutions that help them actually function? We don’t really have programs available like this.

A lot of my own stress and anxiety is from being disabled and trying to take care of my children, one which battles his own health and mental health issues. But they make getting a caretaker nearly impossible! Hell, I had to pay for my own wheelchair since I can walk to the bathroom in my own home. We have tools to help but we won’t allow you to use them until you’re so messed up you have no choice otherwise. And respite? A glorified babysitter that gets paid to sit there and make sure your kid isn’t causing harm. How about programs that actually allow them to do something THEY enjoy for once to actually reset and take a break beyond experiencing the same day in and day out that led to their need of respite in the first place. And yes, kids need respite too. Or another option is a children’s home type environment where you’re restricted on your rights and creature comforts which just simply adds to their anxiety and removes items they use as supports, such as cell phones. That doesn’t help the child, it just makes them feel locked up.

How do we fix this broken system?

We should never fear calling the Police during a crisis… Part 1: My Journey with Ada County Juvenile Justice and Meridian Police Dept.

We should never fear calling the police during a mental health crisis. But that is exactly what I now fear. I will never utilize there service that we pay for, ever again, no matter how bad it gets. They have failed me. The Ada County Juvenile Justice Department has lied to me and they are not there to help your children as they are proving that.

Around September of last year (2020), my son had a complete and utter meltdown. Covid has been rough on our kids, especially those with autism or other mental health issues. Due to my child’s depression, we have a crisis plan in the event it is needed. I’ve never needed it before. That night, I did. 

I simply needed the police or ambulance to transport my child to the ER. My child had volunteered to get help but when he found out they needed blood work, he lost it. He hates needles, it’s part of his autism anxiety. I was afraid of him hurting HIMSELF, so I made that call. My son did NOT want to go to the ER and I alerted the officers of his diagnoses and his fear and that he was not willing. They said they may have to restrain him if he refused to cooperate. There was no mention of anything beyond that. My son was transported to the hospital in restraints. 

One month later I received a call. My son had a warrant out for his arrest. He was being charged with a felony assault on a police officer and a misdemeanor resisting charge.  They are charging him for ‘attempting to bite’ the officer even though he didn’t cause any harm, he’s a small kid and they had him on the ground putting a body wrap around him. 

Though I managed to have the warrant removed AND the prosecutor was willing to drop the felony, his supervisor would not let him. We have trial in April. They said they would drop the felony if we pled to the misdemeanor. This to me seems like blackmail. Why should we plead guilty to any crime when we simply needed help during a mental health crisis? They said they charge kids to make sure they’re getting the proper help they need… yet not one phone call to see how he is doing. Not one phone call to share any information regarding services. They didn’t even ask if he was receiving any services!  How is this helping my son?  If they were really seeking to only charge to help, then why wouldn’t the supervisor allow the prosecutor to drop the heavier charge and work with the other charge that remains? Again, this shows they don’t have his mental health in mind but are seeking to punish my child and for a crime that could follow him for the rest of his life and for what??? For calling 911 to help us get him to the hospital… Never again.

I’m a disabled veteran who is in the process of seeking caregiver support due to my disabling condition. Stress exacerbates my health issues. This has certainly put a lot of stress on my shoulders and added more to our plates when it wasn’t even necessary. Not to mention my son could have a felony record for life if the judge determines he’s guilty.  There are no laws to protect my son. Where’s the common sense?