Welcome back to the Hope for Parents with Struggling Teens podcast!
My guest today is an incredibly inspiring woman named Annette Craig. Annette founded my favorite non-profit in the world: The With Hope Foundation
Annette lost her daughter Amber to suicide extremely unexpectedly in 2005, when Amber was just 14. Now, With Hope, The Amber Craig Memorial Foundation is actively educating teens on the topics of suicide prevention and mental health awareness. They also host many educational programs, fundraiser events, and bereavement support.
Annette is the reason I started the parent's support group, and has inspired me so much over the years. She’s helped many, many people get connected to quality services and resources, and I appreciate how wise and discerning she is about how she refers teens and families. (A lot of therapists say they want to work with teens, but not all of them are willing to stay diligent about all the research they will need to stay up on if they’re going to do so effectively).
When I first met Anette, the topic of mental health was more stigmatized. We chat about how in 2023 it’s less taboo, but there’s still much work to do to educate and de-stigmatize certain topics.
We talk about what a good fit in a therapist might look like, how parents can partner with a child’s therapist, what types of resources parents of kids who struggle with suicidal ideation might need, and what therapists need to discern when they first consult with a teen.
We talk about intervention in crisis moments, and what to do if you’re not sure whether it’s real or a cry for attention.
We also talk about the topic of blame. Many families that have touch points with suicide or attempted suicide find that they deal with feelings and conversations around blame. Annette points out that when a certain type of cancer runs in the family, no one’s tempted to point the finger at a certain side of the family or the patient themselves. It’s just accepted as an illness. For whatever reason, it can be harder for families to navigate the topic of mental illness from the same blame-free standpoint.
We also talk about rallying around families who are hurting, the importance of community, and how the support group and others like it have helped families through these darker moments in life.
I know you’ll sense Annette’s burning passion for helping hurting families, and be inspired by her hopeful perspective.
If you’re experiencing thoughts of suicide, dial the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 988 right now.
To learn more about Anette’s foundation, go to: WithHopeFoundation.org