Bethany grew up in a typical middle class home having family dinners, attending school, and participating in community sports. Just before her 12th birthday, Bethany was confronted with a life changing event, and one that forever shaped the remainder of her short time on earth; the passing of her father.
Bethany was never able to overcome the sadness. During her Sophomore and Junior years in high school she became increasingly anxious and sad. While she was encouraged to remain active in all her school clubs and sports, her days and nights still felt isolating. While she maintained her status as an A++ student, her mind was slowly deteriorating from the anxiety and sadness.
Bethany was hospitalized. Twice. Each experience was traumatic, but Bethany emerged stable after each inpatient experience. While she seemed to benefit from the hospitalization, each experience reduced her ability to participate in daily activities. It became clear that the objectives of the hospital were to assure she was stable at the time of the discharge. While necessary, it was also clear that this was not sufficient to continue the fight against the disease. When in late winter a third hospitalization was recommended, the recommendation was not followed. Bethany was provided with a safe, alternative environment and she reacted positively and found her way out of the crisis.
However, this sparked a protective services complaint prompting an effort to take Bethany to the hospital, against her parent’s treatment wishes. In the following weeks, CPS continued to investigate to ensure that Bethany was being cared for properly and in a suitable home. After weeks of investigation the case was closed and no action was necessary. Despite this, Bethany was shaken by the experience, contributing to her anxiety and stress.
It was only a few months later that we lost Bethany to depression, days after she had posed for her senior pictures.
Bethany's story does not end here. Through Bethany's tragedy we have learned much. We have learned that hospitalization on a psychiatric unit is the only available option for children at risk for death from suicide. We have learned that hospitalization can be traumatizing and this trauma can have long lasting negative affects. Bethany and all those children who need help now have given us purpose and direction for changing the way that we approach the life threatening disease of depression. We are the Bethany Anne Galdes Foundation. We are the loved ones who remain, determined to reverse the rising rate of suicide.
Bethany's legacy will be the transformation of the lives of victims of this disease through awareness and creating an environment that provides evidence-based treatments. Learn more about the vision of the Foundation here.
Help us open the doors of Bethany House.
A Warm and Welcoming environment specifically designed to manage and treat depression. An alternative to psychiatric hospitalization for depression.