A little boy with a backpack about to cross the street.

I'm Coming Out of the Dark About My Child's Mental Illness


I have debated long and hard about sharing this, but in the end my passion for increasing awareness on behalf of my children won out.

I have a child with serious mental illness.

He sees a psychiatrist, takes psych meds and we have discussed inpatient treatment. I believe it’s just a matter of time before that happens.

He is also a leukemia survivor and has other complex medical needs. His mental health concerns are nearly as challenging as his physical health problems.

Yes, for us, his mental health needs are nearly as challenging as cancer. Let that sink in.

We are not alone. Other families face serious mental health issues in their children. We’re a quiet bunch because there is still so much stigma attached to mental illness and medicating kids. Many people believe it’s just a discipline or behavior problem which should be solved with whatever happens to be their favorite method of punishment.

I often write about my sons’ Down syndrome, or their medical needs, but today I am stepping out to say that my son lives with severe bipolar disorder. I say it so others know they aren’t alone. I say it because I cannot abide the stigma any longer.

Parents of children with special mental health needs, you are not alone. Today I am coming out of the dark to shed light on this, for my child and for yours.

A close of holding hands

The Mighty is asking the following: Tell us about the first time you reached out to someone about your mental illness. Whether it was a friend or a professional, we want to hear about why you opened up, how it went, and why you’re glad (or maybe not glad) you did it. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

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