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The Mental Health Journey of a Mother and Daughter

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In June, 2018, Kidsdata.org, a program of the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, featured mother and daughter guest authors, Olga and Magaly. When Magaly was 11, her mother found suicide plans on her phone. Six years later, they continue to navigate the challenges of Magaly’s diagnosis of depression and psychosis. Their journey touches upon the importance of early identification, access to care and the struggles for support.

Mental health disorders affect as many as 1 in 5 U.S. children each year. The vast majority of mental health problems begin in adolescence, with depression being the most common. Many young people who need mental health treatment do not receive it. Sadly, even if mental health problems are identified, children often face challenges with stigma.

Olga, a Family Resource Specialist at Support for Families of Children With Disabilities in San Francisco, describes her experience raising a daughter with depression and psychosis. . .

Magaly was 11 years old when she planned to kill herself. I had noticed cuts on her arm for some time but she always told me they were scratches from falling. It wasn’t until the cuts went from a criss-cross to deep straight lines that I knew something was wrong. I looked through her phone and found detailed plans, ranging from which friend would get her belongings to notes saying goodbye to loved ones. She left in the middle of school that day, walking around for hours, looking for a highway to jump off. The earliest doctor’s appointment available was for the following Monday, which was extremely frustrating. I spent that weekend watching Magaly’s every move, but also careful not to alarm or scare her. I didn’t want her to run away.

Magaly, 17, a student at Galileo Academy of Science and Technology and a published poet, shares what it is like to live with depression and psychosis. . .

The voices in my head are weird. Right now, there are five of them, two boys and three girls. The voices can be like whispers; those are constant. It sounds like a hissing noise, like a window that is open a crack on a windy day. The voices can also be clear, speaking distinct phrases. I’ll see a tree and the voices will say, “You can hang yourself from that tree.” My inner monologue is louder but sometimes the voices can defeat it. When that happens, I have to yell out loud to hear myself.

Read the rest Olga’s and Magaly’s stories on the Kidsdata.org blog.

Source: Kidsdata.org | The Mental Health Journey of a Mother and Daughter, https://www.kidsdata.org/blog/?p=8240 | Copyright © Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health

A screening can help you determine if you or someone you care about should contact a mental health professional. Care Coordinators can arrange a free 30 minute Care Consultation so you can explore options with an expert. Call or email our Care Coordinators at 650.688.3625 or careteam@chconline.org to set up an initial Consultation appointment.

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