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Our Mental Health Blogs

The Miracle of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

The Miracle of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

I refused electroconvulsive therapy for my daughter for two years. Now I wonder why I waited so long. Electroconvulsive therapy isn't scary as it once was.

For two years I refused to even consider electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for my severely depressed daughter. After all, I saw those 1950s movies—I saw those patients emerge zombie-like with no memory. But then my daughter’s life became so bleak we had no choice but to try electroconvulsive therapy, and I’ve kicked myself for letting her suffer so long.

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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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Stigma Against Parents Who Raise a Child With Mental Illness

Stigma Against Parents Who Raise a Child With Mental Illness

The stigma against parents raising a child with mental illness can impact decision-making and cost years of unnecessary isolation and shame. But there is help.

There is a stigma against parents who raise a child with mental illness. I felt this stigma against parents myself as I sat in my first National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) meeting, horror slowly crept up my body like a spider crawling across my skin. The organization provides education and support for both people suffering from mental illness and their families. I was attending a meeting for families but as I listened to one story after another, I was sure I didn’t belong (Stigma of Being Branded Bad Parents). But this was the stigma against parents who raise a child with mental illness rearing its ugly head.

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Battling the Isolation of Childhood Mental Illness

Battling the Isolation of Childhood Mental Illness

The isolation caused by childhood mental illness can limit your family's fulfillment and capacity for mental health. Learn to limit associated anxiety instead. A child’s mental illness isolates the whole family. Social anxiety, unpredictable outbursts, sensory issues–all these things can make the outside world exhausting for your child (Mental Illness, Isolation, and Loneliness). Judgment, stigma, and fear make it exhausting for parents. Isolation in childhood mental illness is our biggest enemy. Fight it.

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My Mother with Mental Illness

My Mother with Mental Illness

My mother with mental illness died last week. She was 85 years old. Here I share my recollection of being raised by a mother with mental illness.

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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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A Letter to My Son with Mental Illness on Mother’s Day

A Letter to My Son with Mental Illness on Mother’s Day

Today, I write a letter to my son with a mental illness on this Mother’s Day:

Seventeen years ago today, on Mother’s Day, your dad and I climbed on an airplane and flew half-way around the world to adopt you. Back home, your nursery had a crib, toys and baby clothes. On the plane, we had a diaper bag, stroller and baby food. In our hearts we had dreams, hopes and excitement for the baby who would make us a family.

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8 Self-Care Tips For Parents of Children with Mental Illness

8 Self-Care Tips For Parents of Children with Mental Illness

Self-care is critical for parents raising children living with mental illness. As parents, we tend to put our child’s needs ahead of our own. This doesn’t work. I’ve put together a list of eight self-care tips for parents of children with mental illness.

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Traveling with a Child with Mental Illness

Traveling with a Child with Mental Illness

Traveling with a child with mental illness presents unique challenges. My son, Bob, lives with bipolar disorder and social anxiety. Traveling used to be so difficult we avoided it altogether. Now, after years of learning the hard way, I can offer some tips for traveling with a child with mental illness.

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