We received a call from a GP saying that he had a 15 year old girl in surgery and he was concerned about the self-harm to her arms and upper legs. Sarah was saying she was depressed and feeling suicidal.
Read Sarah’s story below.
What happened next?
On the phone, we asked the GP if it would be possible for Sarah to give consent to let her parents know what was going on as this would keep her as safe as possible.
We gave an appointment for Sarah to come into CAMHS with her parents the following day.
We saw Sarah individually, her parents individually and then a group appointment where we thought about how we can help Sarah with the cutting and to keep her safe.
This was difficult for Sarah as she felt embarrassed and cautious about her parents knowing so we also talked about what could or could not be shared when the family were all together.
Why did Sarah cut?
Sarah knew why she was cutting and she said that she didn’t feel anything anymore, but that feeling the pain was a relief.
We talked about safety as the most important thing and we offered appointments to help her gain more understanding of why she was feeling so low.
Together we helped to find a way forward and eventually she was able to able to cut only occasionally and became more able to talk with her parents about the things that were difficult at school and with friends.
What did you do for Sarah?
We discussed the feelings of depression and asked a CAMHS consultant psychiatrist to offer an appointment to discuss the possibility of medication.
Sarah thought about this carefully but chose not to take any medication as she felt that by talking about the problems had already made things easier.
Along the way we used questionnaires to help track progress and to make sure we were offering the right sort of therapy for Sarah.
We had 10 appointments in all and after that Sarah felt she was able to manage without CAMHS. We wrote to her GP who was able to keep an eye on Sarah at their monthly appointments.
Children and Family Health Devon
Single Point of Access Team
1a Capital Court
Sowton Industrial Estate
Exeter EX2 7FW
t: 0330 0245 321