Becca is a 17-year-old, sweet, outgoing teenager who lovingly speaks of a deep affection for her mother and excitedly talks about graduating high school, her first real job and her dream of becoming a chef. But it wasn’t always like that. When she was first brought to the DLC Children’s Crisis Stabilization Unit several years ago, she exhibited suicidal gestures and self-harm by cutting herself, was extremely rebellious and manipulative, had severe mood swings, engaged in attention-seeking and highly sexualized behavior, and had unstable relationships with family and friends. Trying to explain her state of mind at that time, she shares, “Cutting made everything go away. It made me not have to think about all of the problems in my life. Suicide would have been the easy way out, but I never really wanted to die.”

Contributing to the turmoil in her life were several years of sexual abuse by her mother’s ex-boyfriend, failed attempts at mental health therapy, in part, due to a lack of insurance coverage, a long history of treatment for ADHD, substance use, the sudden death of her best friend and an undiagnosed and untreated mental illness. After being stabilized on the Crisis Unit, she received a comprehensive treatment plan which included referrals to psychiatric medical services where she received medications to help regulate her mood and therapeutic behavioral onsite services provided weekly in the home. She spent the next year working really hard on herself. She established a great rapport with her therapist whom her mother says “she quickly learned she couldn’t manipulate”. Their individual and family therapy sessions addressed everything from boys and drugs to communication and attitude. Becca adds, “I have had a really hard time and it has been a difficult process. The drugs would numb the pain and made it easy to stop caring. It was hard to give it up and get used to being normal without being high all the time.” She adds with regret, “I’ve been through a lot of things that have changed me – some bad, some good. I wish I hadn’t put my family and friends through all of this and the scars on my wrists are a constant reminder.”

Today, she continues routine visits with her psychiatrist and therapist on an outpatient basis. She adds, “Without the help I received from David Lawrence Centers and the support of my family, I would be pregnant and still using drugs, or dead. Life is good now. My relationship with my mom is great and we rarely fight. I’ve earned back my parents’ trust and, for once, I am not grounded all the time. I have a lot of hope for the future and I am extremely grateful that I am here to talk about it.”

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