Parents can advocate for mental health care improvements for our children with mental illness, and we're in in a unique position to do so. As we travel through America’s broken mental healthcare system, our voices can help shine a light on problems and advocate for mental health care changes that would help our children in their quest for mental stability.
You can sometimes predict that a mental health setback will happen, but still, when it happens, a mental health setback seems to come out of nowhere. I got a call from school staff this morning saying that my son was disrupting the class. He had been out of his seat, kicking chairs, and refusing to do work. In the background of the call, I could hear his teacher attempting multiplication lessons while the paraprofessional explained quietly that my son was now on the floor, unmovable and unresponsive to everybody. He was no longer allowed on Friday's field trip. The staff put the phone to my son's ear so I could try to talk him, but he hung up on me instead. After months of doing amazingly well at school and home, this was definitely a mental health setback.
My daughter just graduated from a year of shock therapy for major depressive disorder (electroconvulsive therapy [ECT]). It gave her life back. Her severe major depressive disorder had stopped her from functioning in life and kept the threat of suicide lingering over her like a vulture waiting to pounce. Yet, today, a year after beginning shock therapy, she has finished her college program, gotten a job and is socializing and taking care of herself with a kind of sparkle that had once seemed impossible. Shock therapy for my daughter's major depressive disorder created a miracle for her.
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.
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.
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.
Hello, my name is Christina Halli. I am excited to join HealthyPlace writing Life with Bob. I can tell you parenting a child with mental illness is tough, one of the hardest things I have done.
Over the past month, I've been writing about taking care of you, taking care of your child and eating right to help manage your child's mental illness to help parents improve their mental health and wellness. In the video below, you'll find my tips to how getting enough sleep can help you reduce stress and be a better parent.
Last week, I wrote about self-care, or taking care of you while caring for your child, and why it is so important to your child's well-being as well as your own. Many times, we parents leave ourselves for last while caring for our children.
Yesterday morning, Bob said something I've never heard him say before: "I need to see my doctor." (He was referring to his psychiatrist.) I asked why, and his answer was clear: "Because I can't sleep." I felt awful for him, he looked almost near tears. He's not the only one. Every morning, as we inch closer to Spring, I find it more difficult to get to sleep (and stay asleep), and more difficult to awake and rise in the morning (What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD]?).