What can I try?

Adult Interventions

Advice for parents, teachers, counselors, and other adults.

Ask the youth whether they have a plan to commit suicide, and what that plan is. Try to determine whether it is a plan they could reasonably carry out.If they have a plan, the resources to follow through, and they are not able to agree to be safe, call 9-1-1 or take them to the Emergency Room.

Try to find out what they are getting out of hurting themselves and what need they are trying to fill.

See if you can make a safety plan with the youth. Ask what support they need from you and others in their life to be safe.

Remove access to sharp or dangerous items as much as possible.

Make sure the youth is supervised at all times and you are checking in with them about how they are feeling.

Let them know you are there for them and your priority is keeping them safe.

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Who can help?

Get counseling or mental health treatment

For immediate support, call the National suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

There are several different ways to seek counseling or treatment. This includes a private therapist, a school counselor, mental health center services, and/or substance abuse treatment.

Private therapists can be a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC), or a psychologist. This is usually covered by insurance and occurs weekly or every other week. Most therapists will individualize treatment and may offer more frequent sessions if needed. Youth may also receive counseling at school. This may be in the form of a school counselor who is accessible to all youth. Find out from the teacher who the school counselor is and how you and/or the youth can set up a time with them. The school counselor can give you more information about services available in the school.

Youth in crisis may need more intensive support than outpatient therapy or school counseling. Mental health centers offer a variety of services: case management, in-home services, and individual and family therapy. Some mental health centers also offer medication management. 

If this process is overwhelming, you need help finding the right fit, or you cannot wait for the first available appointment, contact West House for a referral to the Youth Crisis Diversion Project. A crisis facilitator will meet with you within 24 business hours and guide you through the process of selecting the right service for your needs. 

Tips for Selecting a Provider.

Contact Information

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Emergency Room

Take the youth to the Emergency Room if you feel it is safe for you to transport them. 

Youth can be evaluated in the Emergency Room for mental health issues and possible placement in the hospital. They can arrive with parents, or with the support of law enforcement and/or other professionals. The Emergency Room process in Ravalli, described here, is different than Missoula. If you are taking your child to a Missoula hospital, please visit www.missoulayouthcrisis.org to understand the process.

When youth present in the Emergency Room for a mental health issue, the hospital staff will contact West House, who will dispatch an on-call mental health professional (MHP). This is most common when considering a placement in acute inpatient hospitalization or a referral to the Ravalli County Youth Crisis Diversion Project.  If the youth does not require hospitalization but needs a short term stay out of the home, the mental health professional may refer to the Youth Crisis Diversion Project. Staff may also make recommendations for support at home, including a safety plan and information for follow up services.

If a youth needs a hospital placement or more intensive services, the Emergency Room staff explore options. For youth under 12, Shodair Children's Hospital and Billings Clinic are the in-state options. For youth over 12, Saint Patrick Hospital’s Adolescent Inpatient Program and Pathways Treatment Center are also options. If these facilities do not have available beds, there are out of state options. Parents should attempt to transport youth, but can access an ambulance under certain circumstances. Parents must be present through the intake/admission process.

Under some circumstances, parents may decide against the recommendation to hospitalize their child. This is a parent’s right, and other community based options are available. It is important to know that not following this recommendation may result in a report to Child and Family Services from the mental health or medical provider.

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Call 9-1-1

Call 9-1-1 if you are concerned about serious harm and need medical assistance or support from police in getting youth to Emergency Room.

When calling 9-1-1, be ready to give the dispatcher the right information. This includes name: phone number, address, date of birth, people involved, a description of the situation, and what kind of help you need. It may be helpful to inform the dispatcher of the child’s mental health issues so that the responding officer is aware. Remember that 9-1-1 is an emergency response, and the goal of the responding officer will be to ensure safety and move on to the next call.

There are several possible responses by law enforcement. Law enforcement may provide support to stabilize, transport youth to the Emergency Room for evaluation, write a ticket, and/or place a youth in detention. Once law enforcement arrives, the outcome is up to their discretion. See Law Enforcement for more information.

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