EP 29: Perspectives on ER Visits and Prevention with Jeremy Sprott.

We know that the number of teen suicides is rapidly increasing and that children present with symptoms of depression and other mental health issues from a younger age than ever before, creating a growing need for mental health support in the emergency rooms of psychiatric hospitals. Today we have a conversation with Jeremy Sprott who is one of our board members and the owner of a company called Mental Health Solutions where he and his team offer these much-needed mental health services by responding to and assisting patients who have attempted suicide or self-harm. Whether the patient has cut themselves, overdosed, or threatened to commit suicide, these situations are extremely hard for parents who often feel guilty for not noticing the warning signs. In this episode, Jeremy talks to listeners about the trends in child and adolescent mental health, advising families on when someone needs to be brought in, what they can expect from the ER procedure, who decides on the facility, and what they have to keep in mind about the reviews that many of these places have. But, as with all other things, prevention is better than cure, and in this light, Jeremy talks to parents about spending quality time with their kids and creating a space in which they can safely share what they are going through without feeling like they are a burden on their parents. Joining in, listeners will also hear about the tricky balance between having resilience and keeping quiet about struggles, the value of preventative therapy, what kids need most from their parents, and why we need something more than anti-bully campaigns.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Jeremy talks about his background in Christian youth ministry and counseling.
  • What it is like to be part of a team that responds to crisis calls in psych hospitals. 
  • Starting his company after recognizing a need in the emergency rooms in the Houston area.
  • The observable trends in the kids and adolescents coming in for psychiatric services.
  • When families need to call 911 or consider bringing someone in for a mental health need.   
  • Jeremy walks us through the procedure once a patient arrives at the emergency room.
  • Hear what goes on behind the scenes while families are waiting for feedback in the ER lobby.
  • The role-players who participate in the conversation about which facility a patient will go to.
  • Why reviews about psych facilities are not always reliable sources of information.
  • Common circumstances that result in adolescents needing mental health support. 
  • Encouragement to parents who blame themselves for not having seen the red flags.
  • The importance of spending quality time with your kids and why they often avoid sharing.
  • Understanding that, while resilience is important, it is okay to admit when you are struggling.
  • Viewing therapy as a means of preparing kids and teens for whatever life brings. 
  • Jeremy talks about the misconception that a person of faith should not need counseling.
  • What kids need most from their parents when they are going through a difficult time. 
  • Why you should be real in the process instead of pretending that things aren’t messy.
  • Bully-proofing our children instead of trying to get rid of all the bullies we encounter in life.
  • Hear about the change that happens when a young person has attempted suicide.

Tweetables:

“We do roughly 150 to 200 consults a month and of course the pandemic has really affected those numbers as well.” — @jeremysprott [0:05:04]

“A threat is a threat. A statement is a statement. So, take everything seriously.” —@jeremysprott [0:09:19]

“A scary trend we see, I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had kids come in after either a really legit suicide attempt or just a moment of anger and just a gesture of suicide when parents tried to discipline their kid by taking away their cellphone.” — @jeremysprott [0:29:03]

“It is about spending quality time without an agenda but also with an agenda as a parent. Investing in your kid so that they know it is safe to talk.” — @jeremysprott [0:36:23]

“Stop trying to make it look pretty. It is okay for it to be messy; for us to be raw and real and not try to keep up with the Jones’ and act like everything is okay.” — @jeremysprott [0:50:13]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Jeremy Sprott on LinkedIn

Jeremy Sprott on Twitter

Mental Health Solutions

Mosaics of Mercy

Sherry Burkhard

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