Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Help Children and Youth with Bipolar Disorder: Just a Minute

I spent a few days in New York City recently and met some amazing women who have changed the world in small and big ways. I was there to meet with our editor as well as attend some events for mental health advocacy. The evenings were spent talking with women who "get" what it means to have a critically ill child. There was also much laughter amongst many the tears. I am inspired once again to continue working towards better lives for children and adolescents who have mental illnesses and their families who are with them every day. One mom had just put her son in a psychiatric hospital for a suicidal overdose. Another mother's adolescent was on the verge of hospitalization and in that frightening time when the family is responsible for keeping her safe and determining what to do next. Another mother had a small moment of relief because her young child had become stable enough to stay home with only one parent to keep watch, allowing Mom to go to New York. In addition to full time care of their children, their jobs, other family members and much, much more, ALL OF THESE MOMS SUPPORT OTHER FAMILIES! One mother started a national response team for families of children with mental illnesses. One directs a large national program for research and support for young adults and children with mental illness. One manages a large volunteer organization dedicated to providing support and resources. Every woman at this table is directly involved in supporting children with mental illnesses and their families. Every woman has personal experience with these illnesses in their own families. All answer phone calls and emails and cries for help each and every day (and night and late at night). National mental health organizations were started by such women. The work continues every single day. These women are brilliant, capable, loving, dedicated and more often than not, exhausted.

One such organization is the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation. This organization is in the running for $250,000.00 from the Pepsi Refresh Challenge. Scroll down and check out the video (made by a mom with help from her daughter!). Then VOTE for these kids and their moms. The work this organization does changes countless lives, supports thousands of families and continues to push for more research and support for the millions of children with mental illnesses. Voting takes only minutes from your life (and you won't be on anyone's spam list). Mental illnesses takes huge amounts of time away from the lives of these children and their families. Vote if you are a dad, a friend, a co-worker, a young person or anyone else. Vote in solidarity with these brave, resourceful and dedicated woman.


Susan Resko said...

Cinda, What a beautiful piece. I'm speechless. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Great job Cinda! What a group- we WILL make a difference!

Supporting Our Siblings said...

Thank you for your support of mental illness and what you are doing for your daughter. My older brother also suffers from bipolar disorder. As the only girl in my family, I have lent a lot of support to my mother. I see her suffering. I share her pain. Not only do I want to take my brothers pain away but also my mothers. I do not have any children so I can't exactly know what she is feeling just like I can't understand what my brother feels. Please don't forget about the siblings. It is difficult for any family member to have a mentally ill loved one.

My friend Becca and I have started a blog called Supporting Our Siblings. Becca's older brother is schizophrenic. Becca and I met in college and formed a very close bond. Please check out our blog. supportingoursiblings.blogspot.com

And again, thank you and all other mothers for what they do.


Susan Madian said...

What a beautiful tribute. You are a wonderful role model and voice for all children who need our special care. Thank you!

Kim Hakim said...


Once again your words touched me and I am glad I came upon your newest blog posting. I have been thinking of calling you because I wanted to let you know I sent a response to your email on October 26th. I tried to send my email (it had attachments) to both your website and work address, but didn’t hear anything so decided to go on your website where I found this blog. I now have a better understanding of what you have been going through over the past several weeks resulting in making a gut wrenching decision to intervene in your young adult daughter's life.

We are our children's advocates and must do what is necessary (no matter the age) to combat and help them maneuver through this insidious mental illness. I am fortunate that my daughter is still a minor making it easier for me to monitor not only her medication, but also her behaviors and moods. I am trying to help her understand the importance of self-monitoring so someday, as an adult with bipolar, she will be in a better position to distinguish between the mood swings without her mother standing over her shoulder telling her she is cycling and having an episode. Someday, her father and I will have to “let go” and trust her judgment in the hopes that we have given her the tools she needs to be a ‘self sufficient” young adult. I think letting go will be the hardest part, but maybe we are fortunate to have found out about her mental illness during her adolescent years because it gives us time to build a foundation and educate her about the importance of managing her symptoms.

Being a parent and worrying about your child’s well being is difficult in and of itself, but throw mental illness into the picture and parenting becomes even more complex as you so eloquently state in your blog. The actions you and your husband have taken to intervene for the health and safety of Linea were done with love and compassion and without compromising Linea’s “independence” as an adult. I commend both of you on handling what must have been an extremely difficult decision for your family.

Keep up your exceptional work on behalf of not only Linea, but for others who suffer as well. Education and awareness are key ingredients in the acceptance and understanding of individuals with severe mental illness and would not be possible without people like you.

Take care and Happy Thanksgiving. Kim Hakim

Chantelle said...

I truly admire what you do. There should be more people like you (and the others you mention) in this world. I live in Canada and there's some activity to create awareness but not enough in my area.
So I decided to do it on my own...starting on facebook and my blog. http://notcrazyimbipolar.blogspot.com/

I was diagnosed with bipolar, gone through hospital stays and even ECT treatments...I want to use my experiences to hopefully help others, create awareness & would love to see the stigma be diminished by devoting my life advocating for mental illness.
People need to be more educated & not fear what they don't know.

I was so happy to find your blog and read about the amazing work you and famalies are doing. I look forward to reading more!