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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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Reasons I Give Psychiatric Medication to My Child with DMDD

Reasons I Give Psychiatric Medication to My Child with DMDD

Deciding to give psychiatric medication to my child wasn't easy. It was a guilt-laden and stigma-heavy journey, but my son is alive, and happier, than before.Controversy surrounds a parent’s decision to give psychiatric medication to their child with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD)–or any other mental illness. Few question parents who medicate children with diabetes or other potentially life-threatening conditions. Yet they will absolutely question those of us whose children have potentially life-threatening mental illnesses. Parents don’t take this decision lightly, though, and we know psychiatric medication for a child is not an easy fix.

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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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Fostering Independence in Your Child with Mental Illness

Fostering Independence in Your Child with Mental Illness

It is difficult to foster independence when your child has a mental illness. Helicoptering isn't useful, but you must be present--in some way--all the time.The parenting questions I’ve been wrestling with recently are how much independence to allow my son with mental illness and how do I foster independence for him. Should I be a “helicopter mom” or a “free-range parent”? Sadly, I don’t have a pilot’s license, and my children aren’t livestock, so I have no idea. I can tell you, though, that the question of independence is an entirely different one for my daughter who doesn’t have a mental illness than it is for my son who does (Siblings of Children with Mental Illness). How do I foster independence in my child with mental illness?

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Introduction to Susan Traugh, Author of ‘Life with Bob’

Introduction to Susan Traugh, Author of ‘Life with Bob’

"Life with Bob" author Susan Traugh talks about her life parenting children with bipolar and other mental illness.Hello, I’m Susan Traugh, one of the authors of Life with Bob about parenting children with mental illness at HealthyPlace. I live with a husband with bipolar disorder and have three children with mental illness: two with bipolar disorder and one with generalized anxiety disorder.

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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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Autism vs. Childhood Mental Illness

Autism vs. Childhood Mental Illness

Autism and childhood mental illnesses can look very similar at first glance. This article discusses what behaviors parents may see in both and how they differ.Many childhood mental illnesses involve behaviors similar to those found in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), commonly just referred to as “autism.” As a result, parents may hear the term “autism” mentioned when their child first exhibits worrisome behaviors. This first post on autism will look at the similarities and differences between autism spectrum disorder and childhood mental illness, as seen from a parent’s perspective.

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