It can be hard to call the authorities on your own child

Posted On Wednesday May 20, 2020
Ottawa Police officer
Ottawa Police officer

An Ottawa family found themselves at their wits’ end recently when their 17-year-old son who suffers from several disorders was upset and threatening self-harm.

They hesitated to call police because it felt disloyal to their son and that they were failing as parents. With nowhere else to turn, the mother called 911.  

Constables Joseph Lalonde and Corey Raymond attended.

“She absolutely did the right thing,” said Cst. Lalonde, a patrol officer who joined Ottawa Police in 2018. “The safety of everyone in the home should always be the first priority, and we’re here to help.”

The officers took their time speaking to each member separately and formulated a plan everyone was comfortable with. They all agreed the best thing to do in this case was to take the young man to the hospital.  Because this had been tried before, with the parents attending the hospital too, Constable Lalonde suggested the parents stay home for now and allow their son to go to the hospital on his own, with the support of the officers.

“This plan took into account everyone’s safety and security and we ensured they were all comfortable with doing this,” said Cst. Lalonde. “The really remarkable thing is, allowing him to make the decision to go the hospital by himself caused an immediate change in his attitude.  He was calm and talking about school on the car ride there.”

The officers went over some pre-planning ideas the family could use in the future to help them if something similar happened again, but advised them not to hesitate to call police.

“There are all kinds of situations when we need experts,” added Cst. Raymond, “mechanics, doctors, lawyers, coaches. It’s more than okay to seek help, so let’s take the fear out of asking for it.”