My 15 year old daughter is at a mainstream school and has no friends. Her mental health is deteriorating and I’m very worried about her. Does anyone have any advice about how I can help her? I’ve found a few forums but there doesn’t seem to be anything that focuses on teen girls. She says she feels worthless and so needs to feel that someone her own age is interested in her and what she has to say.
So sorry to hear this. Sounds like me aged 15 (43 years ago). My mum was very understanding of my behaviour and feelings. She had struggled in adolescence herself so I never felt weird. I was talking to her about this the other day and she reminded me she had asked a psychotherapist friend to speak to me. The conclusion was it was normal teenage angst - very few people considered autism as a possibility back then.
Whilst not specifically for girls the YoungMinds website has lots of useful information including links to other organisations, there's a parents helpline too - they might be able to signpost you to services for teen girls. I've just used the problems at school page as an example, there are pages for other issues too: https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/feelings-and-symptoms/problems-at-school/
As your daughter's mental health is deteriorating CAMHS would seem to be an appropriate option, but do emphasise that she is autistic and this needs to be taken into account when her mental health is assessed. Keeping your daughter safe is so important and unfortunately becoming part of the mental health system carries its own risks.
Have you contacted the NAS helpline to see what they suggest? The parent to parent service NAS offers might be helpful too.
Has she thought about joining the scouts or something? I was an assistant leader for Explorer Scouts (14--18 year olds). They are very mixed these days (we were about 50/50 boys/girls) and very accepting of disabilities and differences. It could provide a completely separate set of peers to be with.
It's a great way of gentle socialising and also getting to do some outside stuff and learn some simple team skills.
A slightly off the wall idea, but have you considered getting her a dog? They are company, very calming (well, I find my anxiety level has gone way down since I got my little guy) and the need to take him out for walks and to socialise him when young will mean she has to get out of the house ..... and people will talk to you and be interested if you have a puppy with you!
I never had many friends at school but always one or two, so I can't imagine how isolating having no-one to talk to must be.
Not sure if I can help but I suffered bad in school I was diagnosed major depression at your daughter's age am 26 now.i was verbally bulked and always in the outside of groups. I wasn't diagnosed until Sept this yr. It's not easy I don't have friend in typical sense in school I did for while was one girls I sat next to but we drifted apart I tend not class people as my best friends it's more people I talk too or know. No one that would be a true friend if I needed they wouldn't be ther but I was if they needed. I don't socialise now much. I have low self esteem I did have workbooks form therapist to work on this. Is there no one she's feels more comfortable approaching. I did read a reply thts said scouts maybe worth trying group or something she's into I went to army cadets again I did little interaction but my friend did go to.so hard this one as making friends isn't easy as is.
Forgive me if I'm doing this wrong - I'm new to this - I just wanted to thank everyone for their suggestions. Unfortunately I have tried quite a few- she sees a psychiatrist at CAHMS, she's on fluoxetine, she sees a psychologist and we have a dog! She's keen to try Scouts though so that's very positive. I've found a unit locally. Please can you let me know if this is how I should reply or whether I should reply individually. Thanks
I think one reply is fine.
You'll find the scouts fun - it's well supervised and the kids are always 'nice kids' and motivated to engage with people. The leaders will do everything they can to welcome your daughter.
Explorers are great because they get to do slightly more advanced activities than the lower orders - we did everything from 'Go Ape' to shooting, archery, climbing, raft-building, canal trip, flying badges, orienteering, camps, pimp-your-trolley etc.
Parents are welcomed to help out too - even moreso if you have an interesting skill that can be made into an activity.
Replying to everyone is fine :-) Most threads turn into an open discussion as everyone throws in their ideas! Good luck with the scouts - sounds like a great idea (and a lot of fun)
I always struggled with friendships in school. To be honest as horrible as it was I was actually better off isolated as I usually got it wrong with friends in the end and would feel more hurt in the process. I was also easily led so was often tricked into thinking people were my friends and then forced to do things that got me into trouble.
I feel for your daughter, school was a horrible time socially. My saviour was my special interests. I spent most weekends involved with them and was able to successfully make a few friends. It's still the only way I really maintain any kind of friendship. I don't know if your daughter has any interests/hobbies she could pursue? It really helps me with interaction and stops me feeling bored and feeling the isolation so much.