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Our Mental Health Blogs

No, My Child Does Not Have PANDAS, He Has a Mental Illness

No, My Child Does Not Have PANDAS, He Has a Mental Illness

PANDAS symptoms resemble signs of some mental illnesses. People sometimes insist my son has PANDAS, but that only stigmatizes a mentally ill child. Here's why.Well-intentioned people often suggest that my child with mental illness isn’t actually mentally ill. They insist he has an underlying medical condition. Lately, it’s pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (PANDAS). To those who interject these suggestions without invitation into a conversation about mental illness, know it can be more harmful than you think.

Note: I am not an “expert”, nor am I writing this in a professional capacity. I am a parent on my own journey, which is where this blog comes from.

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Emergency Plans for Mental Health Crises Will Help Your Child

Emergency Plans for Mental Health Crises Will Help Your Child

Emergency plans for mental health crises help you help your child. Find out how to prepare and emergency plan for psychiatric crises here.

According to our emergency plan for mental health crises, I had to call the police. After melting down for an hour, my daughter with bipolar disorder had locked herself in the bathroom threatening to kill herself. Knowing the signs of suicide, my daughter and I (with the help of her therapist) had created a safety contract—she violated it by locking herself away from me—I had to call according to the emergency plan for mental health crises.

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Give Balance to Siblings of a Child with Mental Illness

Give Balance to Siblings of a Child with Mental Illness

Siblings of a child with mental illness can get lost in the fray, and that's a top worry for parents. Here's what can happen and tips to help balance it out.Siblings of a child with mental illness don’t have it easy. Managing children is a balancing act. Throw in mental illness, and that balance disappears. Sadly, this doesn’t usually favor the child without the mental illness. I have many fears for my younger daughter who often lives in the shadow of her brother’s behavior disorder. I’m betting many parents like me have the same fears for the siblings of a child with mental illness.

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Coping with Your Child’s DMDD Outbursts and the Aftermath

Coping with Your Child’s DMDD Outbursts and the Aftermath

A child's DMDD outbursts exhausts the whole family. Is there a way to manage these intense DMDD outbursts to reduce the stress on the family? Try these ideas.

Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) outbursts erupt multiple times a week because a child with DMDD is persistently angry and irritable. DMDD outbursts are tantrums that are way out of proportion to the situation. As parents, they are tough to watch, but preventing them seems impossible. Keeping everyone in the family safe is a priority, and when it’s all over, DMDD outbursts leave your family emotionally exhausted.

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Mental Health Screenings in Schools Should Be More Inclusive

Mental Health Screenings in Schools Should Be More Inclusive

Early mental health screenings in schools catch problems like autism, but miss most other mental illnesses. Many kids can't access the programs they deserve.While mental health screenings in school may take place, they need to be more inclusive. Although autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and childhood mental illnesses like attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can look similar on the outside, the way they’re treated in schools looks different. From the perspective of a parent of a child with mental illness, they seem like unfairly disparate worlds. It makes me think of the need for inclusivity in school mental health screenings.

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School Refusal and Your Child With Mental Illness

School Refusal and Your Child With Mental Illness

School refusal happens in families with kids who live with mental illness. School refusal is a nightmare. Learn more about how to handle school refusal.For a child with mental illness, school refusal can be common. School can be anxiety-provoking for children with mental illnesses (School Anxiety in Children: Signs, Causes, Treatments). School refusal is anxiety-provoking for parents. Working parents have the added layer of inflexible timelines. Being late to work daily may get them fired, and the employer doesn’t necessarily care about our struggles with our children. So what can we do as parents to get our mentally ill children past school refusal?

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Life with Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

Life with Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD), relatively new to childhood diagnoses, may explain your child's terrifying outbursts. Could it be DMDD?Most people don’t know what life with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is like. But if your child is perpetually angry and irritable or you walk on eggshells for fear of triggering terrifying outbursts, these behaviors may point to disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, a childhood mood disorder that can lead a child and his or her parents on a scary and frustrating journey.

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Manage Problem Behaviors Caused by Childhood Mental Illness

Manage Problem Behaviors Caused by Childhood Mental Illness

Parenting a child with problem behavior due to mental illness is hard enough at home. But what do you do when you can't be with your child? Watch this for tips.

It’s important to know how to manage your child’s problem behaviors caused by mental illness when you’re not there. When your child struggles with mental illness, going into public can be terrifying. More terrifying is wondering what your child is doing in public when you’re not there (Parenting Children with Behavior Problems). One of my son’s diagnoses is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). I’ll discuss more specifics about parenting children with ADHD throughout March, but for now, just know that ADHD sometimes makes children socially awkward and they display problem behaviors that you need to manage even when you’re not there.

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Siblings of Children with Mental Illness

Siblings of Children with Mental Illness

Are the siblings of your child with mental illness suffering because of your family's situation? Find out to deal with the sister of a mentally ill son.

Raising siblings of children with mental illness is challenging. My husband and I have spent so much energy on my 17-year-old son Bob who lives with bipolar disorder and social anxiety, his younger sister, Hannah, is sometimes neglected. Hannah, the sibling of a child with mental illness, has witnessed multiple crises in our family. She has been the trigger or target of her brother’s outbursts. It is no wonder she is struggling with mental health issues of her own.

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Advocating for A Child with Mental Illness

Advocating for A Child with Mental Illness

Two weeks ago my son Bob told me he got a Saturday detention for skipping gym class. He said they were swimming and he didn’t want to swim. Later, I went online and discovered Bob was failing physical education (PE). This was maddening to me since Bob was an athlete and strong swimmer. I knew instinctively this had nothing to do with swimming and everything to do with my son’s mental illness. The screaming question in my head was, “What do I do now?”

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