Que Jewelz, of Highland Park, a town within the city of Detroit, first realized her daughter was in pain when the teenager came home from school tearful at the age of 14. The mother went into her room and held her.
“She will say, ‘Mom, I don’t know why I’m crying. I can not stop.’
“There’s a word for that,” said the mother. “Helpless. As a mother you just want to take the pain away. As a mother you just want to take the pain away … I cried myself to sleep for many days.”
Her daughter Symone is now 17 years old, a talented singer who said she wanted to contribute to the public discussion about young people with mental illness. She wants her name to be linked to her story and her mother supports her decision. In deep desperation, Symone attempted suicide and acted. Her mother remembered a time when the police drugged her daughter with a taser to get her under control. It was not easy.
“If they’re in any condition, they hope you die,” Jewelz said.
“They hate you. And then you have to turn around and take them to the hospital and sit with them because there are no beds and if you leave that kid you don’t know if he’ll try to kill himself again.
“I’m telling you that more than once I’ve said, ‘I just can’t do this anymore.'”
Families with children in crisis often do not know where to turn. They call hospitals, suicide helplines, and residential facilities – sometimes spending hours or days calling from one location to another.
Sometimes the advice is just this: Call 9-1-1.
A mother in northern Michigan said her young adult daughter told her last month that she was considering suicide after her boyfriend took her own life. For days the mother tried unsuccessfully to get help.
The daughter is now stabilized, but the mother is nervous.
“She is silent again,” she said. “That’s when you’re worried.”
A mother in West Michigan said she often spends hours a day speaking to school officials and mental health officials to seek help for her autistic son, 11, who suffered from major depression and anxiety during COVID.
“It’s exhausting. But if I give up, I’ve given up on his future,” she said.
“The system failed my child. I won’t let him down. “
Forging a life worth living
Springstead, the mother of the unpredictable 15-year-old, recently stood in the shade of her porch and watched her son shoot baskets and then hop on the trampoline – trying to burn off some energy.