I am a mother, writer, speaker, and advocate. During the early years raising our children, my husband and I encountered some challenging behaviors that were beyond our knowledge and ability to parent. We needed help. So we began to access the children’s mental health system hoping for support, assistance, and services. Instead we found barriers and stigma. We continued to push through the system in order to find the help we so desperately needed, and along the way we began discovering opportunities to help and support others.
Currently I advocate for children’s mental health issues locally, regionally, and across my state. Not only do I advocate for policies and services that effectively support children and families, but I also encourage systems to provide opportunities for families struggling with emotional and behavioral challenges to share their voice and experiences. The journey of parenting a child with a mental health diagnosis is often lonely and isolating. I’ve experienced the stigma from others and the self-imposed expectations and blame. All of this, combined with daily parenting challenges, contributes to feelings of failure and insecurity in many parents. By sharing our family’s journey and allowing opportunities for conversations about hard topics I seek to provide support and hope for others.