Parents are an integral part of the treatment process for pediatric eating disorders. These insidious diseases impact both the mind & body and typical concur with other mental health conditions.
As the Empowered RX community grows in both community and staff, we are simply witnessing more mental health emergencies. Society is also seeing an uptick of mental health crisis in the post-pandemic world.
As parents and educators are you prepared for a Crisis? Do you have resources for emergency situations? Do you feel confident you could respond with a clear head rather than react? How about in situational awareness surrounding disordered eating/mental health behaviors?
Knowing these things could be the difference between recovery and relapse. Or worse, life and death.
As waitlists for both residential treatment centers and mental health emergencies increase, people may have to wait hours, days or even weeks for appropriate treatment. This leaves many parents feeling helpless and their children in crisis feeling alone and desperate.
Empowered RX has been called upon for Crisis assistance by schools, Doctors and families whose children have shut down and need an advocate to facilitate communication and finding the right resources.
This is where we step in. We are not Therapists or Doctors. We are health care advocates, Wellness Professionals and mentors who have trusting relationships with our pediatric clients and parents. We work along side Medics, Doctors and Therapists to help the child feel safe and heard. We advocate for them when something in treatment doesn't feel quite right. We are able to provide assistance during the time between the event and Professionals arriving on the scene and can provide a grounding voice of support on the hard days.
Some of the situations we have assisted in over the past year:
Empowered RX helped with order of operations for who to contact and how to get help in the short and long term. We also facilitated communication with the child and Doctor when the child wouldn't open up. In the long term treatment environment we have provided emotional support for the parent and child in addition for healthcare advocacy.
- Fainting Spells
We have had clients faint at home due to restriction and dehydration. Many times parents aren't aware the extent to which their child is using behaviors so this can be a shocking and scary situation. Empowered RX has provided on-call assistance in helping the parents think clearly and contact the right medical resources. We have helped to trouble-shoot the situation with nutrition considerations, signs and red flag awareness and communication skills so it is less likely to happen again. We facilitate hard conversations with the child to create open communication and understanding in a scary situation for the family.
This is something we hope no parent or child ever has to experience. The sad reality is that it can happen. Knowledge and support is crucial in getting accurate information from your child so they can get the best medical treatment. During this crisis we provide emotional support in the trenches. We are there for parents and children during this often confusing and disorienting circumstance. We provide resources, help get them appointments and implement next steps. In most of the cases of suicidality we have been a part of this year, the children will only open up to their mentor who has built a solid foundation of trust with them. Knowing exactly what happened rather than having to guess ensures faster medical stabilization and planning for long term treatment. We also serve as mentors after the scary crisis, so they have continuity of care as they navigate the changing landscape and revolving door of practitioners on their journey from Emergency-> Hospitalization-> Residential.
- Residential connection and quality of care advocate
Residential treatment centers provide great care, but sometimes things happen that shouldn't. We recognize not everything is perfect 100% of the time, but we serve as a connection beyond the walls of the treatment center so that if something is amiss, we are able to advocate for the child. We are also a connection to the outside world that reminds them what is waiting for them and the support they will have when they get out. This can be grounding and help your child to feel more optimistic about the release and transition back into the world. As a holistic treatment program we believe that sometimes Residential treatment is absolutely necessary and can be life saving. Going to a residential treatment center away from family and friends can be scary. We are here through it all.
Self-harm as a coping mechanism without suicidality is very common in those struggling with mental health conditions. During our weightlifting classes, our Coaches are trained to keep an eye out for fresh wounds or markings that may be indicators of self-harm. We have also been called many times by girls in crisis who have urges to self-harm and want to utilize connection and skills instead to cope but need a little guidance. In the case that a child or teen self-harms, we usually have a trusting enough relationship where self-disclosure is common. We don't shame, we work with the child to understand their behavior and help them provide alternatives. We also help them to have those hard conversations with their parents when they are ashamed or afraid of the consequences. As mandated reporters, we often are able to communicate and intervene before a situation occurs.
- Eating Disorder Behavior Escalation
Triggers lurk behind every corner in eating disorder recover. Snapchat, Instagram, social media, friends, diet culture....triggers are everywhere. There is no telling when stress or exposure to certain things will trigger an escalation in behavior.
Again, while we are not Doctors or Therapists, we ARE often called upon to help navigate the scary world of crisis and eating disorders. Our Crisis Companionship services will help ensure that every client is given equal care and opportunity.
Hospitalization can be scary. Special visits from your mentor can be arranged as a Crisis Companionship visit in extenuating circumstances.
Crisis Companionship Services at Empowered RX
We understand that emergencies happen and resources are needed ASAP. We are here! These add-on services allow us to give all clients their regular programming in addition to extra help when needed.
1. Panic button calls
Calls during distress that are not pre-meditated. These calls can be booked within 24 hours to get grounding and companionship from your Recovery Coach in the event of distress. We often get calls like these when kids are faced with challenging social events that may leave them triggered or feeling bad about body image. These calls typically last 15-20 minutes and get the girl calm, breathing and centered.
2. Crisis Calls
These are serious calls at the time of Crisis. Often our mentors have close relationships with the child that facilitates open communication at urgent times. Any calls longer than 30 minutes pertaining to crisis or unscheduled appointments would be considered a crisis call.
3. Crisis Companionship
This level of service is for those recovering from acute trauma. Trauma is scary and impacts the whole family. Our Recovery Coaches serve as companions to loved ones and the client who are coming to terms with next steps and trying to make peace with the current situation.