Fight Like Hell: A Letter to Amanda Bynes’ Parents

July 28, 2013 Randye Kaye

Today, nearly two months since my last post about Amanda Bynes, she has finally been admitted for psychiatric evaluation. What took so long?

This much I have personally experienced: until someone you love is of “harm to self or others”, it’s next to impossible to get him or her placed for evaluation. Unfortunately, sometimes by then it is too late.

Yesterday, Amanda’s parents were finally able to apply for conservatorship – a decision that was delayed, as it looks like Amanda will stay under psychiatric care for at least two weeks. For this time, as I know all to well, her family will have a time to regroup a bit, breathe a sigh of relief that Amanda is safe for the moment, and gather strength for the fight that lies ahead.

What is the Definition of "Sick Enough" for Psychiatric Help?

[caption id="attachment_1555" align="alignleft" width="160" caption="Amanda Bynes"][/caption]

Two months ago, Amanda had logged in several instances of erratic behavior, paranoid posts,and trouble with the police. Her parents' concern? Amanda's increasingly odd actions? Not enough for help.

This time, Amanda set a driveway on fire. She nearly hurt herself, her dog, and an elderly woman. Yes: nearly. But that isn’t always the case.

At last, as was true for our Ben ten years ago, Amanda finally seems to be “sick enough” to be admitted to the hospital. Luckily, she is still alive. And her actions this week (according to TMZ, “Bynes allegedly used a canister of gasoline to fuel a fire outside a random elderly woman's home in Thousand Oaks, CA around 8:38 PM on Monday night") could have ended so tragically.

When is it Time to Let the Family Help?

Warning signs of bizarre behavior in the past few months had gone unaddressed. Yep, been there. Done that. Got the conservatorship.

Amanda’s parents have a long fight ahead of them, and if I could

[caption id="attachment_1557" align="alignright" width="135" caption="NAMI Parents at CT NamiWalk"][/caption]

speak with them I’d offer the support and encouragement all families living with mental illness so desperately need. Their family’s journey right now was our journey a few years ago – and a fight for our child that must still stay alive. We can rest, but we are never really out of the woods.

Dear Rick and Lynn Bynes,

We have never met, but we have much in common. I, too, have an adored child – bright, promising and a joy – who suffers with mental health issues. Our family, too, has had to sit back and watch symptoms get worse and increasingly frightening, until we were finally allowed to petition for conservatorship. We, too, have witnessed near-disaster and felt hopeless, unsupported, and lost.

What I want to tell you is this:

1. Congratulations. You are doing a tough thing – applying for conservatorship of an “adult” child, but it is necessary. Don’t let anyone talk you out of this. I am still Ben’s conservator, and while he basically runs his own life, I am allowed to step in when necessary. This is vital.

2.Reach out for Support and Education about Amanda’s condition, and its affect on your family. You are not alone! Contact me, read memoirs and books, utilize NAMI info and Family-to-Family , read the articles on

3. Recovery takes time, but there is hope. Some hopes and dreams will have to be adjusted, but with proper treatment and some luck, you will still have your child around to love.

4. Fight like Hell. You will face legal obstacles. Amanda will fight you – and, since she is a celebrity on top of it all, I suspect you will be judged by the media, and possibly here management team as well.

5. Don’t believe the stigma. Schizophrenia is a condition of the brain, and no one’s fault – not Amanda’s, and not yours. It is not a result of “bad parenting”. As parents of a celebrity, you will read lots of stupid stuff in the media. Get facts instead – and speak with others who have been there. There are many resources where you can learn the facts and get support – and I hope you will. Amanda needs you, even though she doesn’t know it.

6. Stay strong, and take care of yourselves too.

7. You can reach me by e-mail if I can be of any help. Been there, too. There is hope.


Randye Kaye

Author, Ben Behind His Voices: One Family’s Journey from the Chaos of Schizophrenia to Hope – and a proud MRG (Mom who Refuses to Give up)

APA Reference
Kaye, R. (2013, July 28). Fight Like Hell: A Letter to Amanda Bynes’ Parents, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 23 from

Author: Randye Kaye

Char Jay
October, 1 2013 at 6:28 pm

I commend you and Amanda during this time of treatment. I also have family members that live with schizophrenia and with treatment and medication all will be fine. Pray for you and know all will get through this.

Dr Musli Ferati
September, 13 2013 at 9:02 pm

The connection between family network system and mental health of its members is intercalate. The correlation is multi-axial, positive or negative. It depend of mental state of members of concrete family and the systems of value that dominate the integrity of family as specific psycho-social group. Furthermore this delicate interrelationship system is in deep influence of socio-cultural aspects of respective social milieu. These and many others known and non-known psycho-social factors exhibit an unsolved pellet on the integrity and functionality of family, where mental health issues indicate crucial role and place. Therefore it ought to promote the importance of mental health care without prejudices, particularly in family bosom as complex interpersonal network. Your six recommendation are welcomed, in order to overcome the great misunderstandings and nebulosity about mental health of every members of ours family.

July, 30 2013 at 11:22 am

Beautiful. Retweeted. Knowing how hard these things are to handle when one's life is NOT in the spotlight, my heart goes out to this family. Thanks for sharing.

July, 28 2013 at 9:56 am

I used to watch the Amanda Show on Nick with my son when he was little. It's been so sad and baffling to watch someone so young and so talented descend into such chaos. I hope her parents see your letter, and I certainly hope things get better for Amanda and her parents.

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