Mental Health

Parents with mental illness are far more likely than other parents to lose their children to foster care. Children with mental illness or behavioral problems also are more likely to enter foster care, either to receive intensive services or because of family stress. Fear and shame can keep parents from reaching out for help. Effective services can also be very hard to find. Stories here explore parents’ experiences finding support for themselves and their children.

A Punishment Worse Than the Crime – I was charged with abuse but my kids were harmed in foster care

September 20th, 2018 was the worst day of my life. My kids were removed from my custody because on September 19, 2018, my boyfriend used corporal punishment on my younger son.

He did it because my son flooded our new apartment and the basement three days in a row by removing a piece from the toilet. After the third time, my boyfriend hit him with a belt, leaving red marks on his back and arm.

The next day, my son went to the school nurse. When they asked him what happened, he said he fell down the stairs, he went into a wall, he got beat up. He came up with like six different stories. Because he had so many stories, the school called me and then they called child protective services.

I felt terrified. I also felt betrayed. For a year I was asking for help for my son’s behavior and nobody was willing to help.

Mommy Time — I had to change for my children’s sake

I was angry at the world when CPS took my daughters Melanie, 8 months, and Amaya, 1 week old. I’d always wanted to avoid my kids going into foster care because my brother and I were raised in care.

But it was a struggle being 21 with two kids and no support. My relationship with their father was abusive and I was broke and homeless, sleeping in the streets. I robbed stores to buy pampers, milk and clothes.

It … Read More

Life Support — After years of chaos, I’m moving forward with the right help

When my oldest daughter went into foster care five years ago, I was 20 and struggling. I’d signed myself out of foster care two years earlier and had been bouncing between youth shelters and my mom’s place.

I went into a shelter after my daughter was born, but a few months later my mother asked me to move in with her. It felt good. My mom had always been emotionally cut off from me. She placed … Read More

‘I Want to Feel Safe but I’m Scared’ – I’m searching for a therapist who can help me with PTSD.

I’ve been diagnosed with Chronic Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD). When I was little, my mother hit and kicked me all the time. My step-dad abused me. I’ve been raped multiple times. The last time was in 2005. I’ve dealt with all of this mostly by smoking weed and staying in my house.

I want to get treatment and live life. But going to counseling and speaking to others about what I’ve held in for so long … Read More

Laying the Past to Rest – Calming your body’s sensations can help to heal trauma.

Bessel Van Der Kolk, medical director of the Justice Treatment Institute’s Trauma Center in Massachusetts and renowned trauma treatment researcher and specialist, talks about ways to recover from trauma.

Q: Your recent book is called “The Body Keeps the Score.” Can you explain what that means and why it’s important for people who have experienced trauma to understand it?

A: Trauma lives in our bodies. Our brains try to keep our bodies from feeling that trauma. But … Read More