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Know Better. Do Better. Feel Better.

Throughout my career, I have worked full force within our current system of mental
health care to provide help for suicidal teens. I have witnessed the urgency of patients calling constantly to get outpatient care, only to be left on a waitlist for 6 months or more. I have acutely assessed and treated teens who have made a suicide attempt, only to be stuck in the medical ER for weeks on end without structured mental health treatment, as they wait for an inpatient admission. I have worked on the inpatient units, trying to help families understand the struggles their child has that prompted the attempt. I have as an outpatient/clinic psychiatrist had countless discussions about the value, and sometimes lack of value, of a medication trial vs therapy. I have called 911 from my office several times, and hospitals themselves, advocating for an inpatient psychiatric admission. I have seen patients in clinic 2- 3 times a week in effort to avoid a psychiatric admission. I have held parents in my arms as they cried for their children, and the decisions they had to make to keep their children safe. 

I have tried my best to work within the system.   


But it is not enough.


There are not enough therapists, not enough psychiatrists, not enough teachers, not
enough caring and educated adults to help support the current suicidal crisis for kids at hand.

I have learned a painful truth- that even when you have an “ideal treatment team”
consisting of a skilled therapist, experienced psychiatrist, ample natural support,
involved parents, and a willing teenager, that this may still not be enough.

Now, I know better.

From these experiences, I believe that our mental health care system needs to broaden the scope of treatment and reimbursable services beyond the suicidal teenager to include their parents, guardians, and the actual parent-child relationship.  Studies have shown that a strong parent-child connection is protective against suicide. 

Studies have also shown that parent child-conflict is a common precipitating factor that moves teens from suicidal thinking toward suicidal action. My clinical experience supports this. Nearly all of the teens I have worked with have attempted suicide in the context of parent-child discord.

I believe we need to strengthen what is protective and mitigate what provokes risk.
And that means working WITH YOU, the parent!

I believe that in order to truly help suicidal teens, we must ALSO help their parents.

We must strengthen and support parents- the lifeline and front line workers- who
deal with their  stressed, depressed, angry, anxious, impulsive and suicidal children living in their homes every day.

It is for this reason I have created DoBetterMD.  Here I offer programs that provide educational support for the parents of suicidal youth.  These transformational courses are parent empower-meant. They not only teach skills such as DBT/CBT skills, de-escalation techniques, mindfulness methods and safety planning, but also strengthen the parent-child connection, helping revive the parent- child dyad, improving communication, rebuilding trust and ultimately keeping young people and their hope alive.

Have you been seeking guidance on how to keep your child safe and prevent a crisis?

Have you been searching for the right things to say to reach your child?

Have you been looking for tools to help YOU help your Child?

Help lives here.

Join me in my mission to help you know better and do better.

Let's keep young people and their hope alive.

Shivana Naidoo, MD


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Teen Braces
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