Helping a loved one who is experiencing a severe mental illness, especially someone who may not realize they are sick, is one of the greatest gifts you can give. For some, it may mean the difference between life and tragedy. ~ Treatment Advocacy Center
Mental illness can be as destructive and fatal as serious physical illnesses, but mental illnesses do not get the same level of attention and care. Mental illness often places a terrible burden and a huge impact on families. Often there is a societal perception that mothers are somehow responsible. On top of this serious emotional strain for a family caring for a child with mental illness, there is the added strain of waiting two months or up to a year to get the help they need. Mental illness is not given the attention that it needs. The situation is so dire I often think someone should sue the Department of Health and Human Services, if only to bring some attention to how desperately help is needed.
Today, in my older age, I want to pass on advice to mothers with seriously mentally ill children:
You are not alone. We need advocacy, not shame. We should support one another. Sharing your stories with other mothers can be helpful to you and to them. We should all search for answers. We should give voice to mental illness so we can shed light on the impact of mental illness in our society and find resources to help us. We can empower other mothers by sharing our stories. We need to learn our rights. We need to ask questions and demand answers.