Fortunately for Alicia, a sad situation turned into a big breakthrough
When ACH gets a Safe Place call, they’re entering situations that can be high-stress and potentially dangerous. However, some calls require
them to deescalate smaller situations. While at first glance these situations might not seem like big issues, they can prevent a bigger situation from happening down the line.
At the time, ACH Shelter Outreach Coordinator Angela Lewis was on the outreach team to respond to calls from Safe Place. She got a call from the Fort Worth Police Department about a 15-year-old girl who had locked herself in a QuikTrip restroom. Angela quickly arrived and assessed the situation.
Not a temper tantrum…
Alicia’s mother had dropped her off with her father for the weekend. They were stopping for gas when Alicia and her father got into an argument over her cell phone. Alicia was getting ready for the homecoming football game that evening at her high school where she served as a Football Trainer, a position she took very seriously. Alicia was texting her coach when her father got upset and snatched the phone from her. Alicia ran inside the QuikTrip restroom and refused to come out.
Angela urged Alicia to come out for over an hour and when she finally did, Angela was able to deescalate her and get to the deeper issue. Alicia’s parents were going through a nasty divorce, and this had been weighing heavily on Alicia. Alicia revealed to Angela that she felt responsible for the divorce.
Safe Place is a locally administered, national program that provides access to immediate help and safety for youth in trouble (ages 10-18). The distinctive yellow and black Safe Place sign can be found outside of business and community locations including QuikTrip.
…but a cry for help
Since the beginning of the divorce, Alicia’s parents began to notice negative mental health behaviors arising, including self-harm. Angela was able to provide resources to Alicia’s parents including recommendations to ACH’s counseling program. After talking with Angela, Alicia came outside and apologized to her dad.
Teenagers with divorced parents are 300% more likely to experience mental health issues, a link that cannot be ignored.
“Sometimes it just takes an outside voice to step in and provide insight,” said Angela.
The police officers thanked Angela for coming out, even though this wasn’t an emergency. What started as a small crisis turned into a large breakthrough for Alicia and her family.
For more information on Safe Place, visit ACHservices.org/Safe-Place. For a 24-hour text-for-support service for youth in crisis, text the word SAFE (7233) and your current location to 4HELP (44357).
Want to help? This year, Safe Place will face a projected budget deficit of $36,131. Your donations can make a difference.