Chrissy’s admission to an Ivy League college was no surprise to anyone who knew her, as she had known only academic and social success from kindergarten. Her parents and younger brothers were not surprised when reports of her freshman year indicated an easy transition to college life that was filled with new accomplishments.

Which is why the change in the tone of her calls and texts during the fall of her sophomore year came as such a shock. Chrissy’s usual buoyant manner had seemed to evaporate, and was replaced by tentativeness, self-reproach, and tears. She said she was having trouble sleeping, and had begun missing morning classes. Her head hurt in the evening, and she claimed that a few beers made it feel better.

She said her roommate was complaining that her side of the room “looked like a bomb hit it”. They had an argument, and Chrissy countered with an accusation that her roommate was spying on her online. When the dorm supervisor intervened, Chrissy claimed life was no longer worth living.

Wisely, her parents came to pick her up, and arranged a consult with a local community mental health center. The staff there felt Chrissy was at significant risk for suicide, and she was admitted to an adolescent inpatient psychiatric unit.

Improvement was slow at first, but with support, individual and group therapy, and medication, she got better. In three weeks she was home again – shaken and somewhat moody – but she was Chrissy again. She began seeing a therapist weekly and joined a virtual support group for young adults.

Chrissy did not return to her original school, but enrolled for the spring semester at a local college. She is now about to graduate and has a career path mapped out. Sometimes she still worries about “coming apart” again, but with the support of therapy, family, and new friends her serious troubles have not recurred.

Chrissy had the advantage of parents who weren’t afraid to respond quickly; parents who weren’t star struck with the idea of Ivy League. With proper support, young people can recover and grow quite nicely.

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