Local teenager hopes sharing her mental health issue can help others seek help

SPOKANE, Wash.– Children are struggling because of the pandemic.

It’s not just in academics, it’s also their sanity.

It happened to 15-year-old Shylar Thompson. She said she already had a lot to do at home and that COVID-19 made the situation worse.

Asking for help is not easy. However, it is a conversation that is needed, otherwise it could get worse.

“I was just hitting rock bottom and really needed some help,” Thompson said.

Thompson said she had suffered from depression for years. She said she noticed it was the bottom when she didn’t want to get out of bed or eat anymore. At only 15, she has already gone through a life of suffering.

“I have experienced a lot of things in my life. Both of my parents are drug addicts and I have always lived with my grandmother. I was going through a very difficult breakup, ”said Thompson.

Add to that the pandemic and things got too much for her. She said going to class was her escape route, but by this point the classes had become virtual.

“We couldn’t see our friends, we couldn’t go to our school and that was such a big difference. We all got lost. “

In January, Thompson said she attempted suicide and ended up in the emergency room.

“I realized I needed help when I started having really scary thoughts of not wanting to be here anymore,” she said.

Thompson eventually found Providence’s RISE program. It is an outpatient behavioral health program for adolescents and adults.

Erik Loraas is a child psychiatrist in the RISE program.

“It’s heartbreaking to see young people who are not filled with hope,” said Loraas.

Thompson said she went to the RISE program for several weeks to get help. She said it was not easy.

“It was really tough because I knew I was going to upset my family a lot because I was embarrassed,” said Thompson.

Behavioral health specialists have said this shouldn’t be the case. While there is still a stigma around it, Loraas said it’s best to reach out and ask for help early on. He said denial doesn’t make it easier.

“I tell families that whether or not you admit that your child is struggling, depressed or anxious, give them a title or admit it, it always happens,” Loraas.

Here are the behavior changes people should watch out for:

  • Sleeping too much or not enough
  • If they have more or less appetite than usual
  • Disinterest in the things they loved
  • Failed grades
  • Insulation

The best way to approach children, or anyone in difficulty, is to simply talk to them.

“Just having these honest, open, and supportive conversations and if you feel like after those conversations you need more then you suggest it and offer yourself as a resource.” Say hello, may I ask you to help you get a date. can I help you get to the hospital? I will stay there with you. Loraas said.

While asking for help can be scary, it can also save lives.

Earlier this year, Thompson couldn’t imagine loving life. In October, she was crowned reunion queen of East Valley High.

“I think it’s really worth it because now I’m starting to really love my life again,” Thompson said.

After everything she’s been through, she has a new outlook on life and is excited about what lies ahead.

“I hope that in the future I can help as many people as possible,” said Thompson.

Thompson is already using his experience to help others. She said she saw a friend struggle like she did and gave her the help she needed.

Sacré-Coeur Children’s Hospital saw a 73% increase in mental health visits in 2020 over 2019. Demand for Providence’s two mental health programs has been “notable” since the onset of COVID.

If you are suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts, you are not alone. There is help.

  • The National Lifeline Against Suicide: 1-800-273-8255
  • The 24/7 regional crisis line: 1-877-266-1818
  • Washington Crisis Line: 1-833-681-0211
  • Providence’s Rise Program: 509-252-6446
  • You can also send “HEAL” by SMS to 741741 for the crisis text line

RELATED: Worried About Your Child’s Mental Health? Here’s what the experts say you should watch out for.

RELATED: Ways To Have Conversations With Your Teens About Suicide

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