It is a trend, right? If we have a weird pain, rash or symptom we get online, pull up a search engine, type as much as we can think of and see what we find. In a matter of seconds we have a diagnosis, people’s opinions, a support group and maybe even a book or two to read. It is fascinating!
This is not exactly what happened when I reached out to the Internet in search of support when I learned my son had bipolar disorder in 2016. Don’t get me wrong, I could find the definition of the word, stories of adults struggling with the illness and even people who disagreed that children could “catch it” (yes, I am serious). What I did not find was moms like me. Moms who were educated, knew a lot about the disease but were desperately seeking a sense of self in the midst of a troubling and frustrating diagnosis.
What I found online was a community of parents who are desperately struggling. Imagine your child is ill and you are not able to find or perhaps afford care. Or, if the symptoms of your child’s illness comes with a stigma that keeps you from party invites, playdates and other social gatherings. These are all things that can be extremely shocking and debilitating to parents.
There are approximately 80,000 youth in Iowa with Severe Emotional Disorder (SED).
In other words, children who have a mental illness, which causes disability in the school, home, and/or community environments
- These are not socially maladjusted children
- They are not bad kids. They are not the result of bad parenting, weakness of will, or character flaws.
- These children are ill. They have a brain disorder – some were born with it, and for some it resulted from brain injury or trauma. And just like children with kidney or heart disorders, they urgently need medical care.
Source: NAMI Iowa “What You Need to Know About Iowa’s Children’s Mental Health Crisis”
Iowa currently does not have a system for children’s mental health and ranks 49th in the nation for mental health services. I ask, in what other categories would we be ok with ranking almost dead last?
It is time to make mental health a priority in our state and provide help for Iowans, especially our children, that they deserve.
I started my blog—Gracefully Crazy—in order to help parents like me working tirelessly to create a fulfilling life for themselves and their mentally ill children. I am blessed many moms have reached out to me with questions, thoughts and even to sit down for a cup of coffee to connect.
I have found a community through my blog. We are not alone and together we can live gracefully even with a little crazy!