Life Advice



Ask Amy: Grandson in distress needs immediate help

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

If your adolescent grandson is an immediate risk to himself and others, then a residential treatment program might be the best option for him right now.

However, any treatment program should start with a comprehensive professional assessment.

If they already have a diagnosis, then they could check with their local medical center, university, and county mental health department to research the best options for him.

They can also call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357). SAMHSA also has a Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator on its website that can be searched by location.

I agree that it is highly unrealistic to expect to send a boy with severe mental illness away to be “fixed,” but whether he receives in-patient or out-patient treatment should be determined by the medical and mental health professionals engaged in his care, as well as his parents’ capabilities.

They must carefully research any residential programs they are considering, and only choose a program with a proven and compassionate approach, as well as a stellar reputation.


You have a deep concern for their welfare, but you should ask yourself if your current stance is most helpful to this distressed family during a crisis.

Dear Amy: I live in a condo community in a suburban Midwest community. Recently, a new neighbor moved in.

The day they moved in they began displaying a Black “lawn jockey.”

My husband and I are deeply disturbed.


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