Give the best chance of recovery

I am asking for help on behalf of my son Jacob.

For most of his life, he has suffered emotional and mental trauma, unfortunately many times the scars left from this type of suffering go unseen for years.   The past three years have been a whirlwind of emotional outbursts that have taken the form of self-destructive behavior both physically and mentally.  Below is Jacob’s story.   

Jacob was a very strong-willed kid; he was the toddler that would throw a full out tantrum in Target because the Wolverine costume didn’t have 2 “claws”. He was vibrant and creative growing up. Jacob was focused on what he chose, that was Buzz Lightyear, Spiderman, Lego’s, Soccer and stop motion, video editing, card tricks and slight of hand and all kinds of artistic expression.  If you ever were lucky enough to see him perform his slight of hand tricks in middle school, he would leave you in aww.

Unfortunately, as he came into the teenage years, the turmoil with his dad continued. His older brother, Noah is very open with communication and has been able to use therapy and voice his thoughts to navigate through the challenges with his dad. Jacob is like me, he internalizes everything, thinks its all his fault, blames himself and thinks he is not good enough. I have had these boys in therapy since they were little to help give them a place to process everything that has gone on in their lives.

In August of 2018 on a Friday, the boys went for their every other weekend visit. On Saturday in the early morning, my oldest called and asked for me to come pick them up. I asked why, he simply said, we are done being treated like this and we want to leave. Rich and I went and picked them up, and they never went back for another visit. I have tried very hard as they grew up to not put any preconceived notions about their dad in their head, a very wise woman told “Don’t worry, they will figure it out and make their own decision”. She was right.

The spiral began after this incident. Jacob was already in outpatient therapy weekly, but he was sinking fast. We found cuts from elbow to wrists. He was isolating himself and turning inward. In December I took him to the pediatrician and was referred immediately to the Children’s Psychiatrist HUB. The doctor diagnosed him with major depressive disorder, and anxiety, prescribed an antidepressant, and we went home. He struggled the rest of that year.

September 2019. Rock bottom on the horizon. Sophomore year started with severe school issues, caused by his depression and anxiety. He couldn’t focus, he ruminated, he didn’t want any attention called to him, so he tried to be invisible in plain sight. His behavior escalated and a second referral to the HUB, this one came with the knowledge that he had attempted with intent to commit suicide but stopped in the middle of the act.

We discovered that he had started to numb out from his mental pain with marijuana and alcohol, I am still unclear if there were other drugs.

November, I had him assessed and admitted to the Partial Hospitalization Program at High Focus, he then stepped down to the Intensive Outpatient Program and was discharged on February 26 of 2020. I EXPRESSED my EXTREME disagreement, I did not think he was ready or able to be discharged, but insurance wouldn’t pay.

He returned to school and got suspended 2 times and was failing almost all subjects. I did get a 504 in place to help him with school, but it wasn't enough.

On March 6th, he was sent to the ER for suicidal ideations with a plan to carry it out. We spent 2 full days in the ER waiting for a bed to open in an adolescent psychiatric ward (CCIS). He was admitted to Hoboken to the CCIS unit and remained there until the 16th. Ten agonizing days of seeing my son behind a locked door with no windows, not allowed to even have a drawstring in his pants or a metal spiral bound notebook. Oddly, he told me on a visit he wasn’t ready to come home. I think he knew he couldn’t make any bad decisions while in there and felt safe.

Another round of Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) started on March 17th. He then stepped down to the IOP. On May 14th, they discharged him again, much to my protest. Why wouldn’t they listen to me?

So, he continued outpatient therapy, but he also was slowly drifting away again, down into that hole.

In September of 2020, he hit a new low. A new level of use and depression. He didn’t care if he lived anymore, and it was as if he was hell bent on making himself disappear. He needed 24/7 supervision, and even then managed to be self destructive.

On October 14th, Rich and dropped Jacob off at Turnbridge, a residential dual diagnosis treatment facility. On November 19th he moved to the step-down program. I cannot say enough wonderful things about Turnbridge’s program, and staff. He has made great progress. But, if you know anything about mental health and substance use, the longer you can devote to the program, the better chance at recovery.

Why we need help. The first 5 weeks was fully covered by insurance. However, when he moved to the step-down program, only the therapeutic clinical hours are covered. The sober living house is not covered at all. The sober living house is an integral part of his recovery, because it has removed him from his normal environment and his triggers, and has supportive trained staff, that teach decision making and life skills in a therapeutic environment. He can slowly earn privileges as he continues his recovery and in anticipation for his return home.

The sober living house is 16,950/per month.

There are other costs associated with his care as well, as an example, I have travelled 3500 miles to take him to appointments or to visit since January. Medications, tolls, copays, etc. add to the tally.

Rich and I committed to the first month, and asked Jacob’s dad to fund month 2.

His dad said no.

I believe in my heart that Jacob is invested in his recovery, and making great progress, and he needs more time in this program to have the best chance at recovery.

We have already taken the maximum cash allowed out of our 401K, we have already taken from our emergency savings, and borrowed from family to pay for the month that will end on December 16th.

I will need to pay for the next month of care before December 16th for him to continue with his recovery.

I was hopeful, that his dad would contribute to his care, but the message is clear. No.

I am doing all I can, applied for sober scholarships, and used all available funds.

Behind the scenes I am fighting with the school to get him what he needs, to get an IEP in place and working to get him into a recovery centric high school. This is no simple task, but I think I am finally making some headway.

I am constantly searching for resources and doing my own work in therapy.

Now I am pleading for help. All gifts will be sincerely appreciated and will go directly to defer the costs of his care.

Thank you.


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Audrey Costa 
Budd Lake, NJ
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