She had just been told that her fetus…

Story of Hope

She had just been told that her fetus was malformed and would need corrective surgery after birth. She said that she had a history of post-partum depression, made past suicide attempts during pregnancy, and was fighting the urge to follow the voices in her mind that told her to overdose on pills. Though married, with two children, she felt helpless and alone, and believed that her doctor had minimized her concerns.

Our crisis counselor assessed her immediate safety, provided emotional support to ease feelings of pain and loneliness, and encouraged the caller to seek further evaluation for treatment of depression. The woman wouldn’t engage in safety planning, but agreed not to make a suicide attempt prior to our call back to her the following day.

Over the course of several follow-up calls, crisis counselors built rapport with the caller and gained her trust. They collaborated with her so that she was able to: 1) identify triggers to suicide (such as feeling put down after arguing with her husband); 2) make her environment safer (she had her husband hide all unnecessary pills); 3) employ personal coping strategies (she said she was religious so using prayer to ground herself when the voices speak to her, or employing distraction strategies like walking and playing with her children); and 4) overcome barriers for accessing treatment (including lack of resources to pay for treatment, having transportation to get to treatment, and having her symptoms and concerns minimized)… With the woman’s cooperation, our crisis counselors were able to develop a safety plan with her. She also gave us verbal permission to advocate on her behalf to find local resources. A bilingual crisis counselor made several calls, found a local program in which the caller met all eligibility criteria, and advocated for expedited service.

During our last follow-up call, the woman reported that her acute suicidal feelings had diminished, and she was receiving no-cost, in-home counseling from the program we referred her to. She said that staff there were monitoring her mental health closely, and would facilitate hospitalization, if necessary. The caller said that she felt resigned to the possibility of being hospitalized, but hopeful about her future. She reported that her mood had improved, she was more self-aware, and she was thankful for the non-judgmental support and advocacy the crisis center provided. She agreed to call us in the future if she felt distressed again.