Daughter refusing to consent to share information

Hi, this is my first post but hoping someone may have been in a similar position.
My 24 yr old daughter is struggling with her mental health following a recent relationship breakdown. She is living alone (should have been with her partner) and is in a very depressed state needing input from the acute mental health services. However she has shut herself away, not wanting to live, she has self harmed and expresses thoughts of suicide. She has not consented to sharing information with me and is refusing to have any contact with me. I know she is not engaging with the mental health team and is not able to function as previously. She is missing work and I worry if she is actually eating. On top of this she is extremely angry with the ex partner and sends continual messages about how she doesn’t care and threatening to kill herself.
Because she has not consented, the mental health team are reluctant to talk with me. I have had days where I have no idea if she is alive or not because of the messages she has been sending but there does not seem to be any urgency from the health team to check on her. She does not answer the phone or open the door when they visit but they just say they have tried to make contact. She has had numerous police and ambulance calls to check on her welfare
I am obviously really upset that she doesn’t want me to help her at a time of crisis, I have sent messages but no idea if she reads them. It is about 6 weeks since this all started and I just don’t know what to do next
If anyone has got suggestions on this I would be really grateful. Is there anyway round the consent thing so I can be more involved/get a better understanding of what’s going on? When are the mental health teams obliged to check on someone’s welfare if they have had no contact with them? And any ideas on the best way to approach my daughter so she feels able to communicate with me again?

Hi Hannah,
I’m not the person you need, with experience, numbers to call or practical things to do but I wanted to let you know that all readers will be sympathising with you and maybe not answering immediately because they don’t know how to help.
Someone will be along with some useful information I’m sure.
In the meantime I can imagine how frantic with worry you are and how desperate.
I can also imagine how your daughter might be feeling,
Bereaved. The partner she thought she had has virtually died. Certainly gone and never going to return and be the same again. The relationship has died.
Worthless. If he doesn’t love her then she is (in her mind perhaps) unlovable.
Betrayed. Especially if there is another girl involved but even if not, promises have been broken.
AT fault. Maybe she feels she has done something, been something, looked something wrong. So that the partner has discarded her because of it.
Self pity. Maybe she is wallowing in ‘poor me’ at the moment. You know her best. How did you used to break her out of teenaged angst? A ‘pull yourself together talk’ mightn’t be the best thing. I don’t know so not suggesting it.
Unable to talk about it. When I am upset about something I refuse to talk about it because doing so just brings on the tears. Perhaps she just can’t express how she is feeling, especially to you. (That’s not your fault by the way). Perhaps the eager for news looks from people at work is not something she can face yet.
If you can, perhaps you could step back a little. Don’t push for confidences and explanations. Just let her know she is loved and that you are there for her but she doesn’t have to say anything about it to you if she doesn’t want to. Tell her how proud you are of her and how strong you believe her to be. Don’t forget that she is a grown woman, not a child or a teenager so speak or text her as such.
Have you any long ago heartbreak you could share with her to let her know you understand? Along the lines of ‘I can’t feel what you feel right now but I can understand a little because when I was 24 I was madly in love with someone and it all ended badly’. She might listen in stony silence though!
Hope it works out

Although your daughter isn’t engaging with the mental health team. I quite sure they have lots of experience if finding out what is happening. There are many ways to keep track with people. Without face to face engagement.

Your daughter is an adult and the team must deal with her wishes.

There is adult safeguarding Act which the team will be following. Think of it this way…

If it was you and you didn’t want information to be shared and it was. You would be very annoyed upset and betrayed. There are somethings we do not want to share with people. I think for moment you need to trust others.

The best thing is be ready when your daughter feels ready to talk or not.

Thankyou for your replies. I’m probably sounding like a really pushy mum, but the truth is I am just really worried about her. I know I need to trust the professionals more but it is so frustrating that they do not look at it with same urgency as I do.
I will try and step back a bit. The difficulty is that it seem there is no-one she will trust to try and help her get out of this and I don’t know how she will do it on her own.

Hi Hannah

I am a t-shirt wearing member of “survived the mental health crisis” carer brigade, and have all the associated bells and whistles too. I hear your struggle and feel your pain - it is sometimes not appreciated how hard it is to be a carer in this situation, so I am all ears if you need to vent.

Firstly, if the acute MH team is involved, and they have decided she does not need sectioning, it is probably a good sign (hard to believe I am sure, but most probably true). Secondly, just because they cannot tell you anything, doesn’t mean you cannot talk to them. If something feels wrong, or your mum’s intuition pings, call them and make a fuss. As mum’s, we are the experts on our kids, we know them better than anyone. If you were close before, but now she wants no contact, that is a warning sign - but they will only know that if you tell them. Thirdly- always be honest with her. Tell her you know you cannot make things better, that you cannot take her current pain away, but you are willing to sit with her through it and you don’t think badly of her because of it. Be honest that you are scared. Throw all thoughts of being worried about what the world and society think (no nagging about work, or cleaning the house, or getting out) and just offer to be her mum again, like when she was small and physically ill. Be consistent in reaching out to her (but no in a pressuring type way) so she knows you are there and have not given up on her. She will reconnect eventually if she knows your door is always open

It is frustrating and scary, but time is what your daughter needs. She will need someone to help her pick the pieces of her life back up once she is ready, without being judgemental that she let it all go. It was the hardest lesson I learnt; I wanted everything fixed in an instant, but slowly slowly is the name of the game. Just sit with her through it - and i will sit with you if it helps.

Sending hugs

Hi Stephanie
Thankyou for your message. You really seem to understand what I am going through and your comments are really helpful.
At the moment my daughter is not communicating with me and I can only send her messages and hope that she is reading them. I am saying I am here whenever she needs me or feels that she can contact me, I just feel so helpless, but also upset that she doesn’t want me.
I call the acute mental health team often, but get the impression that they are fed up with me and often don’t return my calls. I have also had to make numerous 999 calls to check on her welfare as she has been self harming and threatening worse. As you say, she hasn’t been sectioned so I try and not panic every evening and wonder if she is alive in the morning.
I will just have to wait and hope in the meantime

That night time/morning dread is the worst part. You sound like you are doing everything right though. And don’t feel bad/guilty about pestering the MHT - it is after all their job.
Have you looked into whether there is any local support for you? Here we have a MH carers support group that meets once a month for coffee, plus I met another group of parents through going to workshops and meeting run by the mental health trust. Building your own suppirt network is just as important as looking out for your daughter x

Thanks for your suggestions. I’ll have a look to see if there are any support groups or anything. I found this forum because the carers centre has a 3 week wait to see someone in the MH advice team and I couldn’t wait that long

I understand her. I don’t want to be here either. I don’t self harm, but the black dog has sharp teeth.
Is she on anti depressants? If not ADVISE STRONGLY AGAINST THEM. THEY ARE EVIL.
Is she self medicating?
She is still here, that is the tiny silver thread that holds her. That’s a good thing.
She needs the right sort of therapy to help remove the emotional triggers that set off the depression. It goes deep. That’s the only thing that really worked for me. I stopped drinking within 6 months of seeing a private cognitive behavioural therapist, expensive but it gets results. Spent over 15 years asking the system for help, useless. Made me realise I was just a number they had to process, therefore I knew I was right - I am of no value so why stay here.
That may not be the same thing for your daughter, but she has self worth issues, feelings of failure, lack of trust maybe. She is angry and self punishing. You can not do a thing until she turns the corner and contacts you, but she knows you care.
When I’m down the phone is off, Facebook etc closed. Total isolation. No food (no booze now).
Depression is so weird, my intelligent self says buck up, get a grip and kick some arse. My emotional self says I can’t be bothered, what’s the point, stay in bed (for nearly a year)
Send cards, keep messaging your love. Beware of offering advice it could be seen as meddling, depends on your history.
What about her friends?
I’m still here for my 2 dogs and step daughter. Can’t do that to them. Suicide is selfish. Besides, my step daughter said she would kill me if I did, can’t have her in clink.
Self harm is a cry for help. There is hope - that silver thread xxx

My circumstances are very different to yours. Recently lost my lovely husband. Dementia, strokes low potassium and severe bowel problems. I haven’t felt the need for antidepressants, but many relatives of residents in the nursing home my hubby was in really were helped very much with antidepressants. I understand you feel strongly that they shouldn’t be prescribed to a person with suicidal thoughts, but they are not evil to everyone. A very good friend of mine was saved because of them.

Just because YOU don’t like anti depressants doesn’t mean that they are no good for anyone.

I have been a carer for 40 years.

Most of the time my mental health is OK, but every so often something really gets to me, then I can’t get any proper sleep. It’s no fun going to sleep at midnight and waking up 10 minutes later.
The conventional advice for stress is to identify the cause of the stress and then take it out of your life in some way. What does that mean for me as a carer? Shoot my son? It’s not his fault he was brain damaged at birth.
Social Services are a major thorn in my side, all I want is for them to do their jobs properly, but they consistently ignore the Care Act and they constantly try to side line me from M’s care. Definitely like to shoot the messenger!
I don’t like anti depressants, my GP has written in my medical notes that he has prescribed them to help me deal with the tensions caused by Social Services. He also suggested that if I went back to my counsellor, Helen, as she could help me deal with the stress. When I told her this, suggesting that she had a Magic Wand, she laughed. Her support for me has been invaluable, but sadly, she cannot work miracles.

I can recognise when I get depressed, and there is a place for anti depressants in my life, to help me relax and get some sleep. They are very much a “last resort” when I just cannot cope with all the frustration caused by a failing Social Care system.

At the moment my daughter cannot be prescribed antidepressants as she is actively self harming & has thoughts of suicide. I don’t know when or if she would be offered them, but feel that she may need them to help get out of the big black hole that she is currently in.
As you know she is not communicating with me, but does occasionally agree for the crisis team to give me updates. So I know she is alive and accessing some support which is so important

Sorry Hannah, my message was directed at Mizzchief, not you.
Your situation is surely every parent’s worst nightmare.

My message was for Mizzcheef too and I apologise for answering on your thread.
I really feel for you, it’s a most heartbreaking situation you are suffering.

What nonsense being told to take the stress out of your life. That isn’t possible as far as I’ve learned. It’s how to pin point the emotional trigger that is so debilitating - which isn’t always the obvious thing weirdly - and reduce our emotional and often physical response to it, not remove it. I’ve not explained that very well.
When I got to the root cause of some of my issues, and worked through them, I stopped drinking within 6 months. The emotional impact of the trigger had been reduced, I didn’t want to open a bottle. Unbelievable because I told the fella on day one I doubted his techniques would NOT work.
I had to pay for therapy because the system failed me so many times over 20 odd year, I don’t trust it anymore.
How do you manage to only take antidepressants occasionally? I have to have one a day or I get huge emotional swings. I wonder if the menopause (nearly 60) has anything to do with it also.
Have you tried St. Johns Wort (NOT to be taken in conjunction with anti depressants EVER)? I can’t get off my medication long enough to try it. Told it works wonders. Never tried that cannabis oil, don’t know enough about it yet.
Social Services are a law unto themselves, totally unaccountable it seems to me and frankly so badly run I’m amazed it hasn’t imploded. All they say is a the same apology to everyone for mistakes made, and they will take lessons for the unfortunate incidents to ensure the same won’t happen in the future. How insulting and degrading for the family who has battled endlessly to get their help. I didn’t mean to upset you regarding the anti depressants, but after discussions with others and researching more deeply, I would look to more proven natural methods first if possible. I know the virtual insomnia game, and I’m in nothing like your shoes. I can’t imagine your turmoil. Your signature is bang on Information or knowledge is power - damn right. The system doesn’t care too much when you can discuss on their level about the rules, eh? they get a bit defensive. Have you ever asked to voice record a meeting with them? That’s a bit of fun.
You are pretty awesome by the way.

It’s not the taking of them, it’s trying to get off them. The side effects can be crippling. Also, I wonder how deeply a G.P looks into each type of anti depressant to best suit a patient. They prescribe the one they get paid most for I believe. When I changed doctors I was given a totally different brand, more than once. Your friend was obviously looked after, as it should be. I do agree they can help reduce suicidal thoughts, personally, I just wish I had been told all the options available before I was prescribed them day one. I would have tried St. Johns Wort as I explained to bowlingbun, but too late now. So I can’t say if it would have been better. Certainly no side effects when not taken at least.

SORRY Hannah looks like I’ve done the same, wrong thread.

You are not a pushy mum, you are brilliant. She agreed to let you have some info, great. I’m glad they haven’t gone the anti depressant route straight away, looking a her needs individually, a good team. I hope you are still eating and looking after you. I can’t imagine being a mum, you are all doing the hardest and greatest job in the world, I’m truly in awe. I was too scared I think. As I said to bowlingbun, you are awesome by the way x

After my husband died, I had almost no sleep for two months, regularly doing accounts at 3am! I realised that I didn’t WANT sleeping tablets, but my body was utterly exhausted.
I had Amitryptilene, when things got easier I cut them in half with a pill cutter, then half again. They key was being very aware of my responses to things, and my own feelings.
More recently, I’ve had many battles with Social Services, my GP is similarly frustrated with them. He gave me Sertraline, which helped me relax and be less frustrated, so I slept better (there is clearly a link between the stress I’m feeling, and the inability to switch off and go to sleep). I took those for a few weeks but can’t take them if I have to be up and about early in the day. As I’m having lots of work done on the house at the moment, I can’t take the pills.
I’m now just a part time carer, the one thing that really helps me is knowing that in a few weeks I will be in Greece, Island Hopping with a girl friend, free as a bird.
Late evening, before I go to sleep, I work on my suitcase list, or our itinerary, look at various Facebook sites dealing with our islands etc. This works better than any tablet!!!
50 weeks of my year I’m devoted to my family. The other two are mine, non negotiable.