Between your husband’s recent suicidal ideation and the suicide of one of your daughter’s acquaintances, the fact that she is reacting to these circumstances is normal, but professional intervention is required. Some research suggests that suicide can be contagious, especially among teenagers. One person’s suicide or suicidal ideation can trigger another person’s thoughts or behaviors. Though she has never directly expressed suicidal thoughts, her risk of suicide is elevated.
You felt that her therapy was not helping but was it given a fair chance? Your daughter improved but you allowed her to quit because she was “very shy with her therapist.” Shyness is not uncommon in the beginning of therapy. It takes time to build a trusting relationship. She should return to therapy. Try another therapist. We are not all the same.
If resuming therapy is not an option, then you should contact the therapist, report that your daughter refuses treatment but clearly needs it and ask for help. The therapist is familiar with her case and can advise you about how to proceed.
Given your daughter’s exposure to suicide, she may be more susceptible to suicidal thoughts or behaviors than someone without exposure. Your daughter should be in treatment.
If you continue to struggle to help your daughter, then you should consider entering individual therapy. Family therapy is also a wise option, especially given your husband’s suicidal ideation. If you attended therapy, you would serve as a great role model for your daughter. If she sees that you are willing to engage in treatment, then she might follow in your footsteps. Do whatever is necessary to ensure that she receives help. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog