Parents See Own Health Spiral as Their Kids’ Mental Illnesses Worsen

by | Aug 14, 2023 | Health

If you or someone you know may be experiencing a mental health crisis, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing “988,” or the Crisis Text Line by texting “HOME” to 741741.

After her teenage daughter attempted suicide and began to cycle through emergency rooms and mental health programs during the past three years, Sarah Delarosa noticed her own health also declined.

She suffered from mini strokes and stomach bleeding, the mother of four in Corpus Christi, Texas, said. To make things worse, her daughter’s failing behavioral and mental health caused Delarosa to miss hours from her job as a home health aide, losing out on income needed to support her family.

“Access to help, when it’s needed, it’s not available,” said Delarosa, about the hopelessness she felt as she sought support for Amanda, 16, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Amanda has at times lashed out in anger or shattered light bulbs and used the broken glass to cut herself.

Delarosa often feels overwhelmed, and she has noticed her youngest son acting out. “Now we have a whole family that needs help,” she said.

A national shortage of mental health care providers, and the search for affordable care, has exacerbated strain on parents, often the primary caregivers who maintain the health and well-being of th …

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