In the last year I have had at least 6 emails from parents who talk about similar stories from the Toronto Star article linked article.
“I was shocked. We live in a society where there is such a culture around smoking dope that people think it is cool to be a stoner. Nobody ever talks about the pitfalls.”
Researchers have established a link between cannabis and psychosis among young people, although they cannot predict who will be triggered, or why.
That last quote is the scary one. Not being able to predict who will be triggered and why.
Youths who are especially at risk are those with a family history of mental illness, or who have suffered sexual or physical abuse. Thibodeau, who went to private school and has a supportive, intact family, doesn’t fit any of these categories.
“When people start smoking before the age of 16, there is a higher risk of having a psychotic experience. We know that early use is dangerous,” said Dr. Romina Mizrahi, a psychiatrist and director of the Focus on Youth Psychosis Prevention Clinic at CAMH. “The brain continues to develop until the age of 25.”
Please take the time to read this. Love to hear any of your thoughts as well.
In the last month I have had over 2 dozen (24 conversations) with students, family members, youth workers, teachers and others all talking about students in crisis. You would then ask what kind of crisis am I talking about. I am talking about students in Grades 3-12 struggling with:
Physically harming themselves (cutting)
Suicidal thoughts including suicide attempts
Burnout and breakdown
In every single one of these conversations the problem people are talking to me about is not with the desperate struggle the student is having but what to do when the parent(s) refuses to acknowledge that anything is wrong and/or will to do nothing about the problem.
“There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” Martin Luther King Jr.’s
So where do we go from here. First I would say we need to advocate for the people around us. Advocate means to speak up or stand up for people. We, as friends, family and leaders, need to have conversations with the parents who are not addressing these issues.
For some people you may need to sit for a second and question if maybe you are the silent parent. If so, here are some thoughts for you:
How are you presently helping your child in their struggle? You should be able to answer this.
How are you hindering your child in their struggle? There are always areas we can improve on.
Have you created a safe environment where you child feels comfortable talking about their struggles?
Are you perpetuating the stigma of mental health but not talking openly about the struggle in your home?
I understand that you might feel completely overwhelmed but the situation. That is ok. How about booking a counselling appointment for you. Tell the counsellor what is going on in your child’s life and get some strategies to begin to come along side them and support them in this struggle. If you feel overwhelmed as an adult picture being a young student dealing with these issue and how much more overwhelming it must be for them.
I read a quote once that said something along the lines of many parents today are so focused on the downward spiral of their own lives it is hard to think of anything beyond their own situation. Maybe some of you need to work on your own struggles first. I also think that we can be working on our own struggles while at the same time advocating for our own children.
I love the book by Robert Munsch that says “I love you forever and always”. We need to let our kids know that we are always there for them and even if they struggle we will still love them. Many students say to me that they could never tell their parents about their struggles as they hear the comments their parents make about other people with similar struggles. Be careful what critical comments you say about others. You might have people in your own home dealing with the same issues.
Even if you have no idea what to do or say you can say this “I don’t know what you are going through but I love you, I will be here through this journey and I will look at getting you some help.”
Say something. Say anything. Just don’t ignore the problem and assume it will get better. It will not.
As a parent, who has a child struggling, talk to your friends at work, church, school, sports etc. You will probably find that many of your friends have kids who have gone through similar journey’s. Be vulnerable enough to not be ok. I have heard this quote by many people “Its ok to not be ok, its just not ok to stay that way.”
If you have any other thoughts please add them in a comment. Thanks
Great interview with Dr. Ravi Zacharias by Carey Nieuwhof on the topic of suffering and evil.
Dr. Ravi Zacharias is Founder and President of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM) and he has spoken all over the world for 43 years in scores of universities, notably Harvard, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, and Cambridge. Dr. Zacharias is well versed in the fields of comparative religions, cults and secular philosophies.
As Carey Nieuwhof mentioned above, he could ask any question he like and Dr. Zacharias would be able to give a satisfactory answer due to his extensive knowledge. So for the purpose of keeping this interview concise, they have decided to tackle the problem of evil and suffering.
In Dr. Zacharias’ latest book, “Why suffering?”, he presents what the secular philosophers call a “trilemma”.
Do you feel anxious from time to time? We all do – and it’s perfectly normal. Whether it’s work, personal life, parenthood or school, life can be overwhelming. But there’s an important difference between feeling anxious and struggling with a diagnosable anxiety disorder. This Psychology Month, let’s consider anxiety in greater depth to provide clarity on when and if you need to seek professional help.
You can make your church, workplace or home an accepting place for people struggling with any form of mental illness but doing one thing … talking about it. Love seeing this video on 100 Huntley Street. Please make sure you are talking about depression and other topics in your families, small groups and churches.
Tara Lalonde, PhD is a Registered Psychotherapist today she gives insight into the issue of depression and how we need to make it a comfortable topic within the church.
For More Information: www.LifeCareCentres.com
For the last 15 or so years of my life I have been asking people “Tell me about your tattoo?” when I am in line with someone who has ink. It has been fascinating to hear the stories of people. I really like this list of tattoos for people struggling with different forms of mental health.
If I ever got a tattoo it would be #25. A semi colon. Below is a quote from another article which explains the semi-colon.
“You are the author, the sentence is your life. For anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, self harm, contemplating suicide, you are not alone. You are worthy. You are loved.” from this article
So much good information here. Please check out the article.
Counseling is not just for those with traumatic experiences or life crises. And getting counseling is not a sign of weak faith; it’s simply a way to take our pain seriously.
In Christian communities, counseling is seen as a cry for help. It’s an indicator of a marriage on the rocks, a spiraling emotional life or crippling doubt. We can acknowledge that counseling is necessary for war vets and suicide survivors. Many may even consent to its value when unhealthy habits have become addictions. But generally, we tend to think healthy Christians should be able to handle their own issues with a quiet dignity