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 How sad, I feel for the mother. No help for suicidal teen.

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Mousey
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PostSubject: How sad, I feel for the mother. No help for suicidal teen.   Mon 12 Jul 2010, 9:19 am

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2010/07/11/14680121.html


OAKVILLE, Ont. – Joanne Genovy's youngest child was just 15 the first time she tried to end her life.

It's a memory etched in her mind -- receiving a call from a friend's mom alerting her Cassandra had "swallowed a bunch of pills," racing home frantically, not knowing if her daughter would be alive or dead when she got there.

That was 14 months ago and fortunately her daughter survived.

But Joanne has lived in fear every day since, wondering when her daughter will try to end her life again.

"We never thought she was capable of something like that," Joanne told QMI Agency recently.

Teen suicides have doubled in Canada since 1961 and rates here remain among the highest in industrialized nations. In Ontario, more than 50 teens commit suicide annually.


There are various and conflicting explanations -- including our long winters -- but universal agreement among experts that there is a woefully inadequate lack of funding, treatment facilities and trained child psychiatrists in Canada.

For desperate parents, the harsh reality is there are few places to turn to for help.

While Joanne admits there was some dysfunction in her home in the past, not unlike most families, she has tried to give her youngest of four girls all the attention and love she can muster hoping to help her overcome depression and a severe eating disorder.

She's even been off work for the last year trying to care for Cassandra, a decision that's caused major financial strain for her family.

But despite her efforts, her now 17-year-old daughter's mental health has only worsened. In fact, she has now attempted suicide, or come dangerously close, five times in just over a year -- three times in the last few months.

"Each time it gets scarier," Joanne said. "I'm terrified that the next time she goes to the hospital will be in a body bag."

In spite of multiple stays in the psychiatric ward at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, where Cassandra was last checked in on June 11, finding the right help to save her child's life has been next to impossible.

Joanne pointed out that getting immediate help for someone who is suicidal is easy enough, you can simply call 911 or visit the emergency department at any hospital.

But a hospital stay is only a temporary fix, something she has learned the hard way.

Cassandra's most recent admission to Oakville-Trafalgar lasted two weeks, but only because her mom pleaded repeatedly with staff not to release her.

As is often the case, drugs and alcohol are part of Cassandra's problem, exasperated by an eating disorder.

Joanne has looked into an assortment of aftercare programs, for both inpatients and outpatients. But they are few and far between and it can take six months to a year, or even longer, to get into such programs.

Her biggest fear is that her bulimic daughter will end up like Sara Carlin, another 17-year-old Oakville girl, who hung herself in her parents' basement in 2007. Carlin's death was recently at the centre of an inquiry into the use of Paxil, a prescription drug used to treat depression and anxiety.

After her initial suicide attempt, Cassandra was prescribed anti-depressants and began attending an eating disorder program in Halton Region. But Joanne claims she was dubbed "too risky" and was "kicked out."

Upset she was no longer allowed to attend the group counselling sessions, Cassandra stopped taking her medication.

A few days later she tried to kill herself for the second time.

The troubled teen was then admitted into a program at North York General Hospital. Her mom drove her into Toronto every day and she was "doing good" for a while.

But Cassandra managed to convince her counsellors and doctors that she was "fine" and they sent her on her way, the girl's mom claims.

"We told everybody she wasn't ready, but nobody would listen," Joanne said, adding her daughter soon fell back into her old habits.

Twice this year, in May following a break-up with a boyfriend, and on her 17th Birthday, the troubled teen again tried to kill herself.

Cassandra's illness has been tearing her family apart.

"My daughter wants help. And I can't be with her every minute of every day," said Joanne, who is now faced with either returning to work and leaving her daughter completely unattended or selling her home.

She believes her daughter needs to be admitted as an inpatient to a program with round-the-clock care. But that's easier said than done.

So far, Joanne claims she's been told her daughter is too old, too young, too sick or not sick enough, among other things.

"It shouldn't be so hard," said Joanne. She is currently trying desperately to get her daughter into Homewood, a private facility in Guelph.

Homewood has only one OHIP-covered bed and the wait for that spot is more than a year.

"All I want to do is save my child and I'll do whatever it takes to keep her alive and get her well, even if that means she ends up hating me."

’I FELT SO ALONE’

The countless scars wrapped around her wrist like bracelets indicate there's a darkness lurking beneath her beautiful facade.

Feint marks left from razor blade slashes are a constant reminder of the 17-year-old's struggles with depression, an eating disorder and periodic desires to end it all.

"I never really fit in," Cassandra Genovy told QMI Agency, while home on a weekend pass from Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial about a month ago.

She was admitted to hospital after her latest attempt at suicide, her fifth in just over a year.

Cassandra had few friends in her final years of elementary school and believes that's when her mental health issues first surfaced.

"I felt so alone ... unwanted ... and that's when I started scratching myself," she said, explaining she would claw at her forearm until it bled.

She attributes many of her woes to a lack of friends, boy troubles and clashes with her dad -- issues that may not seem like much to an adult but can be earth-shattering for a young girl, especially one who is suffering from depression.

"I started not liking school," Cassandra explained. "Then one day I just woke up and felt I didn't deserve to eat."

She became "obsessed" with exercising and began "restricting" herself to 500 calories a day -- about 1,700 calories less than is recommended for a teenage girl.

"When everything in your life is spiralling out of control, food is the one thing you can control," Cassandra said.

She then began "bingeing and purging," eating until she felt sick and then throwing up.

To control her weight, she started swallowing over-the-counter medications by the handful. And she became a master at hiding her illness.

When her mom put locks on the kitchen cupboards, she stole food from the grocery store. When she got in trouble for clogging up the toilet with vomit, she threw up into a garbage bag and hid it in her bedroom closet.

But eventually it all caught up with her.

Cassandra dropped out of school early this year, then her boyfriend dumped her in May on their one-year anniversary. She started sleeping all day, going out all night, drinking heavily and using street drugs, mainly marijuana.

"Things just became overwhelming and I had a meltdown," Cassandra admitted.

Doctors recently told her she has caused lasting damage to her body, which includes weakening her heart.

It seems unimaginable that such a sweet girl could be battling such demons.

But it becomes crystal clear in a second interview a few weeks later, after her release from hospital, that there are two starkly different Cassandras.

This one is sprawled on the couch of her parent's home, still too drunk and high from the night before to even sit up.

She's covered from head to toe with unexplained bruises and scratches, and her speech is so slurred that she's barely able to string together a sentence.

She looks more like someone who should be curled up on a grate in downtown Toronto than a teenager who has grown up in upscale Oakville.

Her mom, Joanne, and two of her sisters, Emily and Vicky, hover around Cassandra, obviously concerned for her well-being and for good reason.

She has just admitted to using cocaine for the first time, after learning a brother-in-law faces a potentially life-threatening medical issue.

"She has no coping skills, so this is how she deals with things like this," Vicky said. "But we truly believe the real Cassy is inside screaming for help



Last edited by Mousey on Tue 13 Jul 2010, 11:05 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Typo)
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PostSubject: Re: How sad, I feel for the mother. No help for suicidal teen.   Mon 12 Jul 2010, 10:47 am

Very sad and certainly a real eye opener. I too feel sorry for this family, it must be very hard. It also reminds me of one of my old neighbours Mary. Mary was maybe even a few years older than me,was widowed and had two grown daughters one of them pregnant with her first Grandbaby. Mary lived alone,worked part time in a facility for mentally challenged individuals,was on disability and had her dog and 2 cats who she loved dearly. In fact it was through walking our Dogs is how my daughter (than about 10 years old) and I met Mary to begin with.

Next thing I know Mary is asking my Daughter to go up and sing Karoake with her so we did go up together a few times. or Mary would ask to leave her key here for her daughter to stop by and get it while she was out at work but I always had a keen sense of 'keep a distance there and worry about what your (my) Daughter might be exposed to' so I kept her somewhat distanced and for good reason or so I thought.

Than one Sunday afternoon Mary called down saying could I come up and get her key as she was being whisked off to the hospital. In a rush up I went and collected the key for her Daughter (again) and locked up behind them but never took the opportunity to look around and or in her fridge I did however go up and feed and water her Pets daily from that Sunday till the Wednesday when she returned. That same night Mary jumped off her 15th floor balcony to her death and I had to explain and counsel my Daughter through it all. What an eye opener that was for me/us. Had I of looked in her fridge over that time I'd have realised she had absolutely no food and was perhaps the same reason she'd been sent to the hospital to begin with. Mary wasn't eating right and had no CLUE about money management but sadly was a loving caring individual who reached out to me in a time of need and I ignored and feared her needs and put my families in the forefront.

To adjust and cope we attended her funeral my Daughter and I. Spoke to the Police,her family and made sure the animals Mary so dearly loved were re-homed properly. Than we poured ourselves into Puppeteering with our local Pastor and working on food hampers for low income seniors and families and we talked a LOT through those times as difficult as they were. I admit for a long time I felt an 'inner guilt' over it, I should've been a better friend etc etc. but the truth is I had my own stresses and challenges as well but the one thing I did end up succeeding in was 'not only helping others but learning to cope through lifes ups and downs and I like to think I've taught my family well in this department.

This all said sorry if this took me a bit off topic but the post instantly reminded me of another 'time' and I felt it important to share our experience with 'coping skills'. I still feel bad for this family though and hope through some miracle they're able to find the necessary tools to get through it.
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PostSubject: Re: How sad, I feel for the mother. No help for suicidal teen.   Mon 12 Jul 2010, 11:34 am

Such an important article. A very sad article. I am glad that the media picked it up and someone who reads this will step up to the plate. I may hate the media but they play a very important role in actually gettting things done. Sad that in order to get help.. the media is a good resource.

With that said, what a sad story and one that I am not surprised to hear. Alot of people young or old face this problem daily. We do not have enough programs in order to help these individuals. With constant cutback and trying to make more money and save more money. People slip through the crack and they end up paying with their lifes.

What gets me angry is that they are asking for help even the daughter is. Not alot of teens want help IMO. But they want help and yet none is offered.

I feel so angry with the mom. She is trying to do what is right by her child but is facing brick walls. What do you do. Scream and chant and who is to listen to you. She made an important step, going to the media. No one likes their name in the media. Now hopefully this child will get the help that she needs..

Ever since I became part of the mentorship program. Can't compare the 2. I have realized a couple of things. There are not enough program out there for high risk youths. If there are any programs they are so underfunded and not enough volunteers. Then you run into the problems.. that most parents in this high risk group don't care. Definatly not the case in this circumstance which makes the whole situation that more frustrating.

As a society we spend so much damn money keeping our elderly alive with new technology and advance in medicine. They say that in a couple of years we can live well past 100. Well I say SHIt. I don't want to live that long in those circumstances.. give that money to our youth. our next generation. and open more programs, more beds.. so they have a chance to live a normal life. I have lived mine.. don't need to be kept alive on meds. They need a chance to live theirs.

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PostSubject: Re: How sad, I feel for the mother. No help for suicidal teen.   Mon 12 Jul 2010, 12:03 pm

Mini wrote:
Such an important article. A very sad article. I am glad that the media picked it up and someone who reads this will step up to the plate. I may hate the media but they play a very important role in actually gettting things done. Sad that in order to get help.. the media is a good resource.

With that said, what a sad story and one that I am not surprised to hear. Alot of people young or old face this problem daily. We do not have enough programs in order to help these individuals. With constant cutback and trying to make more money and save more money. People slip through the crack and they end up paying with their lifes.

What gets me angry is that they are asking for help even the daughter is. Not alot of teens want help IMO. But they want help and yet none is offered.

I feel so angry with the mom. She is trying to do what is right by her child but is facing brick walls. What do you do. Scream and chant and who is to listen to you. She made an important step, going to the media. No one likes their name in the media. Now hopefully this child will get the help that she needs..

Ever since I became part of the mentorship program. Can't compare the 2. I have realized a couple of things. There are not enough program out there for high risk youths. If there are any programs they are so underfunded and not enough volunteers. Then you run into the problems.. that most parents in this high risk group don't care. Definatly not the case in this circumstance which makes the whole situation that more frustrating.

As a society we spend so much damn money keeping our elderly alive with new technology and advance in medicine. They say that in a couple of years we can live well past 100. Well I say SHIt. I don't want to live that long in those circumstances.. give that money to our youth. our next generation. and open more programs, more beds.. so they have a chance to live a normal life. I have lived mine.. don't need to be kept alive on meds. They need a chance to live theirs.



I totally agree with you here, and yes mom may get the help she needs now that it has hit the media.
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Mousey
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PostSubject: Re: How sad, I feel for the mother. No help for suicidal teen.   Tue 13 Jul 2010, 9:45 am

More:
So sad, she's such a pretty girl, hopefully someone will help.

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2010/07/12/14684991.html

OAKVILLE, Ont. — The countless scars wrapped around her wrist like bracelets indicate there’s a darkness lurking beneath her beautiful facade.

Feint marks left from razor blade slashes are a constant reminder of the 17-year-old’s struggles with depression, an eating disorder and periodic desires to end it all.

“I never really fit in,” Cassandra Genovy told QMI Agency, while home on a weekend pass from Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial about a month ago.

She was admitted to hospital after her latest attempt at suicide, her fifth in just over a year.

Cassandra had few friends in her final years of elementary school and believes that’s when her mental health issues first surfaced.

“I felt so alone ... unwanted ... and that’s when I started scratching myself,” she said, explaining she would claw at her forearm until it bled.


She attributes many of her woes to a lack of friends, boy troubles and clashes with her dad — issues that may not seem like much to an adult but can be earth-shattering for a young girl, especially one who is suffering from depression.

“I started not liking school,” Cassandra explained. “Then one day I just woke up and felt I didn’t deserve to eat.”

She became “obsessed” with exercising and began “restricting” herself to 500 calories a day — about 1,700 calories less than is recommended for a teenage girl.

“When everything in your life is spiralling out of control, food is the one thing you can control,” Cassandra said.

She then began “bingeing and purging,” eating until she felt sick and then throwing up.

To control her weight, she started swallowing over-the-counter medications by the handful. And she became a master at hiding her illness.

When her mom put locks on the kitchen cupboards, she stole food from the grocery store. When she got in trouble for clogging up the toilet with vomit, she threw up into a garbage bag and hid it in her bedroom closet.

But eventually it all caught up with her.

Cassandra dropped out of school early this year, then her boyfriend dumped her in May on their one-year anniversary. She started sleeping all day, going out all night, drinking heavily and using street drugs, mainly marijuana.

“Things just became overwhelming and I had a meltdown,” Cassandra admitted.

Doctors recently told her she has caused lasting damage to her body, which includes weakening her heart.

It seems unimaginable that such a sweet girl could be battling such demons.

But it becomes crystal clear in a second interview a few weeks later, after her release from hospital, that there are two starkly different Cassandras.

This one is sprawled on the couch of her parent’s home, still too drunk and high from the night before to even sit up.

She’s covered from head to toe with unexplained bruises and scratches, and her speech is so slurred that she’s barely able to string together a sentence.

She looks more like someone who should be curled up on a grate in downtown Toronto than a teenager who has grown up in upscale Oakville.

Her mom, Joanne, and two of her sisters, Emily and Vicky, hover around Cassandra, obviously concerned for her well-being and for good reason.

She has just admitted to using cocaine for the first time, after learning a brother-in-law faces a potentially life-threatening medical issue.

“She has no coping skills, so this is how she deals with things like this,” Vicky said. “But we truly believe the real Cassy is inside screaming for help.”

SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS

• Sudden change in behaviour (positive or negative)

• Apathy, withdrawal, change in eating patterns

• Unusual preoccupation with death or dying

• Giving away valued personal possessions

• Depression, moodiness, hopelessness

• One or more previous suicide attempt

WHERE TO TURN FOR HELP:

• Kids Help Phone, 1-800-668-6868, a 24-hour counselling service for children and youth, four to 19, and their parents.

• Distress Centres of Toronto, 416 408-HELP (4357), trained counsellors offer 24-hour emotional support, crisis and suicide intervention to youth and adults.

• Telehealth Ontario, 1-866-797-0000, available 24/7, youth or parents can speak to a Registered Nurse for advice.

• Toronto District School Board Safety Line, 416-395-SAFE (7233), students thinking about harming themselves, or who are aware of another student considering suicide, can leave an anonymous message for TDSB staff.

•Daniele’s Place is an eating disorder resource centre in Burlington that provides immediate support services free of charge to anyone in need. Call 905-333-5548, or toll-free 1-866-277-9959, or visit daniellesplace.org.

•For more on teen depression, self-harm, eating disorders, addiction, suicide prevention, and other mental health issues, visit www.aboutkidshealth.ca or www.camh.net.


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