Today came news that several of our older students have been hospitalized for their mental health issues. One of them was sent home from school yesterday, and as the parent took the child to the car, we implored her to call her psychiatrist or home based worker because this had been no ordinary meltdown. The parent, a person with a good heart and way too much to deal with, decided instead to take the child to the nearby home of the grandparent.
What came next seemed right out of a horror movie.
The other two students aren’t in such dire straits, but hospitalization seemed justified. Sometimes that’s what it takes to get a child’s strong medication levels on track, or to get parents finally involved and active in the treatment process.
I use to mourn when kids were hospitalized, like I hadn’t done what I could to keep them on track. But now I see it as a blessing, a chance for the child and the family to regroup, make changes, and intensify the level of help they receive.
At one point several years ago, 6 of the 7 first graders I started the new year with had all be hospitalized within the previous 2 years. At show-n-tell one day, one of my schweeties brought in a wooden bear toy he had made while at the hospital. He proudly held it up to the group, and immediately, the other former patients all squealed with delight!
“Hey, I got one of those too!”
“I made one like that at the hospital!!”
“Wow! I’ll bring mine tomorrow!!”
Bonding continued for several minutes, but the kid who had never been hospitalized looked confused and then completely forlorn. He didn’t have a clue about this hospital stuff, all he knew was everyone else got to make a cool wooden bear, and he didn’t!!
“Can I go to the hospital too, Mrs. Ris?”