Setting Up an Crisis Plan for Your Child

I know I posted awhile back about setting up a crisis plan of some kind for yourself, whether it’s an Advanced Directive, a Springing Durable Power of Attorney, or just a simple family crisis plan when you have a mental illness or some other special medical need that may require hospitalization. This is especially important when you have children that will need to be cared for during that time.

But what about children that have similar conditions? Particularly when it comes to mental or behavioral disorders, they should have a crisis plan in place for the family to follow as well. If they’re in their teens or older, then they need to be a part of the planning process as well. I found a useful web article that shares one parent’s experience along with a list of what such a crisis plan needs to include at minimum.

While the article specifically addresses Bipolar, I believe it can apply to any disorder or disability that potentially triggers either suicidal ideation or violent behavior. I also believe that if your child has a medical condition of some kind (like heart, lung, seizure, etc.), having a written crisis plan for the family to follow is also a good idea.

Emergency Plans for Mental Health Crises Will Help Your Child

The only thing I would like to point out here is the part about the signed waiver from your adult child giving providers permission to speak to you. Check the laws in your area regarding mental health information privacy.

In the United States, this is covered by HIPPA and in Maine by the time a child reaches the age of 14 they legally have full control of their mental health information and care. What this means is, in the United States once your child has control of their records you cannot force or coerce them to sign that waiver and once they have signed it, they have the legal right to revoke it at any time for any reason. And this is where building that relationship and trust with your child in being a true partner with their care is critical.

So don’t betray their trust. Treat them and their mental health with the same respect, compassion, and dignity you want yours to be treated.

Do I fuck up with my kids? All the time. Every day. But for some strange reason, Scholar Owl signed that waiver for me. Today him and I met with my therapist to build him a mood tracker of his very own to learn and practice with for homeschool as part of this year’s health class. The three of us built the list of items for him to track together. I just need to type it up into a reusable template form now.

Somehow I don’t think I will be as lucky with Little Bear when he hits the teens, but time will tell. For now that boy feels the need to argue with me about EVERYTHING.

This isn’t to say that I don’t worry that someday Scholar Owl will take a turn for the worst and decide to revoke the HIPPA waiver. This doesn’t make the crisis plan completely null and void. So we can still make the phone calls and make the requests for well being and safety checks. We can still do everything that is in the crisis plan that doesn’t involve us being given information.

Just remember we CAN’T force anyone to comply with any kind of care plan unless a court order is in place. The reality is if they aren’t a danger to themselves or others there is no legal need to force care. I’m not going to get into that argument of how we define “danger to self or others” or the argument of “quality of life” here. Instead I will offer the argument that we catch more flies with honey than we do with vinegar.

If someone isn’t complying with their current care plan and thus constantly going into crisis, then help them build a better care plan for them. Help them find the one that not only works but one they can abide by and live with.

This shit doesn’t go away. This is a way of life for us.

And if we aren’t happy with it then it won’t work and we will live some other way.


If you enjoyed this post, or have some thoughts about it, please let me know!

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