Have you ever found yourself in a place where you’re both heartbroken and infuriated? That’s where I am right now. I’ve been there for the better part of the last 24 hours.
Yesterday afternoon, I found out from a co-worker that a child we worked with back in the fall took her own life on Sunday. My co-worker was this child’s primary counselor. I only filled in as a back up when she was out for the day or busy with another kid. But ask me if that makes processing this news any easier.
I don’t know the details. I don’t need to know the details. I can’t imagine what her teacher must be going through. I can’t imagine what her class will be dealing with as they return to school after a long weekend and find out for themselves what has happened to their classmate.
This child was in the third grade. Eight years old.
Mental illness is real. Depression is real. Anxiety is real. And it doesn’t matter how old you are for these things to have a very real affect on your life. We are becoming more and more aware of mental illness overall these days. But, clearly, there is still room for growth.
I’m still processing it all at this point. How is this the world we live in? How can someone that young find themselves so completely devoid of hope? How is it that we are not stepping in to provide that hope?
At the start of this post, I said I was heartbroken and infuriated. The heartbroken piece is self explanatory. But why would I be infuriated? Where could I possibly direct my anger in this situation? Believe me, there’s a good place.
This is a kid who was receiving counseling services throughout most of the fall. When it was time for us to seek re-approval for her to receive continued services, she was denied. Someone somewhere, either among her insurance provider or the Medicaid powers that be, made the decision that this child’s mental health diagnoses and symptoms were not severe enough to warrant continued counseling services.
I remember being appalled when I heard that her services were denied back in December. How do we feel about the severity of her diagnosis now?
I think it would be appropriate for someone to personally deliver the news of this poor child’s death to the individual who made the decision to deny her counseling services. I know it’s petty. But, like I said, I’m pissed off and this hypothetical situation is how I choose to express my current state of anger.
At first, I told my co-worker I had no words. As you can see, I have plenty of words. In fact, I have more words than this, but they’re mostly inappropriate and would definitely need to be directed at insurance corporations and/or government officials and/or individuals that make stupid decisions that literally have a life or death impact.
The system is broken and we are failing our children.