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.

Rebuilding Ourselves – After Iraq—and removal—I had to heal myself and my daughter.

I learned early on that black women are supposed to be “strong” and endure pain in silence. The three years I spent in the military and thefive-and-a-half months I spent stationed in Iraq taught me the same lessons: Be strong. Be silent.

A month after my daughter, Shylah, was born, I kissed her good-bye and flew off to Iraq. When I came home, I brought painful memories with me in the form … Read More

‘A Child’s Whole Sense of Security Is Shaken’ – What families need when children come home from foster care

Illustration by Melanie Leong

Arietta Slade, City University of New York professor of clinical psychology and co-director of Minding the Baby, a mother-infant program at the Yale Child Study Center, describes the impact that removal can have on children and parents and the support they need to reconnect:

Q: How does placement in foster care affect children?

A: You want to think about it like this: We survive by being connected to other people. It’s the most … Read More

Split in Two – Can I protect my daughter from the dark side of myself?

art by Skylar Kane Kraemer

When I started attending an outpatient drug treatment program in 2001, I had a lot of dreams about using crack. My dreams were so real to me. One night, I saw myself buy crack in an old building and put the piece in a pipe. As I was inhaling, I woke up terrified, holding my breath.

My dreams seemed to continue when I was awake. I started hearing voices that told … Read More

Getting and Giving – I feel good helping someone else in need like me.

art by Rosa Perin

Ten years ago, I was a single mom of two children, 2 years and 11 months. I was in treatment for bipolar disorder but I was isolating myself, a warning sign of depression. My therapist recommended that I come to a clubhouse at a program called Employment Options.

Coming to the club helped me make friends and get to know other people with mental health problems. But soon after, I was investigated … Read More

Un Sólo Niño Me Parecía como Si Fuesen Miles – La terapia familiar ayudo a mi hijo con TDHD y a mi.

¿Que es TDHD (ADHD en Inglés)? Pocos años atrás, yo no tenia idea lo que significaba (Trastorno de Deficiencia en la Atención e Hiperactividad). Nunca lo había escuchado. Pero me di cuenta que mi pequeño niño estaba lidiando con esto.

Algunos días Alex se portaba bien, lo que uno consideraría un niño normal. Pero la mayoría de los días eran estresantes. Un sólo niño me parecía como si fuesen miles. Corría por todas partes, nunca terminaba … Read More