Quote of the Week

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Free Mental Health Education Program for Parents & Caregivers - Pittsburgh, PA
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, August 20, 2014

NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania Announces New Class For Parents and Caregivers of Children with Mental Health Disorders

Pittsburgh, Pa. --  NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania is offering, for the first time, the NAMI Basics Education Program for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents with mental health issues. This six-week series of classes will begin in Squirrel Hill on Monday, Sept. 15 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Children's Institute of Pittsburgh.

Offered at no charge to participants, the course will cover information about ADHD, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, Schizophrenia and Substance Use Disorders. 

It will teach coping skills such as handling crisis and relapse; basic information about medical use in the treatment of mental illness in children; listening and communication techniques; problem solving skills; and an overview of the mental health and school systems' roles in treating children with mental health issues.  

The course will be taught by two trained teachers who are also parents of individuals who developed mental illness as children.

"This course provides a meaningful experience for parents and caregivers of children with mental health issues," said Christine Michaels, executive director of NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania. "It introduces them to a community of people with shared life experience, which is equally important as the education and skills training they will receive in the class."

"We hope parents and other caregivers will take advantage of this unique opportunity," Michaels added.  

For more information, contact NAMI at (412) 366-3788 or visit www.namiswpa.org

NAMI Southwestern Pennsylvania provides recovery focused support, education and advocacy to individuals and families affected by mental illness. More information is available at www.namiswpa.org or by calling (412) 366-3788.

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Robin Williams R.I.P.
Posted by:Jenn--Saturday, August 16, 2014

Speaking after Robin Williams' recent death, his widow said, “ . . . it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin's death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”

One of Williams’ many contributions was his willingness to speak publicly about his battle with substance abuse.  After 20 years of sobriety, in 2006 he sought treatment for alcoholism.  During an interview with Good Morning America, Williams explained that falling back into alcohol abuse was "very gradual."

"It's the same voice thought that … you're standing at a precipice and you look down, there's a voice and it's a little quiet voice that goes, 'Jump,'" Williams told Diane Sawyer. "The same voice that goes, 'Just one.' … And the idea of just one for someone who has no tolerance for it, that's not the possibility."

When asked why he relapsed, Robin answered: "It's [addiction] — not caused by anything, it's just there … It waits. It lays in wait for the time when you think, 'It's fine now, I'm OK.' Then, the next thing you know, it's not OK. Then you realize, 'Where am I? I didn't realize I was in Cleveland.'"

For the full article, click here.

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Detaching with Love
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, August 11, 2014

So far we are experiencing the ups and downs of Pebbles’ and Dina's attempts with sobriety and 12 step programs. They recently decided to live together with Dina's boyfriend, which we strongly advised against. The results were quickly disastrous and the attempts to pull us in were a struggle to avoid. They are both adults now, although even at age 20, Pebbles is only an adult in legal terms.  Dina's maturity has been curtailed from years of drug abuse so that even at 31, she is just a young teen at best.

We have told them so often how smart they are and how skillful they can be, so we feel we need to give them the dignity to use their skills to work this out, and use the resources available to get through this explosion that has recently occurred. As two addicts who think they can live with 12 step, picking and choosing what they want to use, and with strong emotional ties with each other, their lives have become a head-on collision.


It is so difficult not to run to the scene and pick up the wounded, then take them home to nurse them back to health. But we have done this so many times, only for them to regain their strength and then walk out to begin their dangerous lifestyles again. It is so difficult to know that if nothing changes, change does not occur. So it begins with us to be the change and let them work this out. Having your two children fighting each other is more heartbreaking then when they have their own separate issues; but it is what it is. We just hope we all learn a lesson from this.

We are trying to use our PSST phrases to reply to them when they call to report what the other is up to and to generally complain about each other. We always dreamed of a loving family with sisters that are close and supportive. But right now their addiction is controlling their thoughts and behaviors, and we have to allow this to run its course. We are powerless over what their relationship is and will be. They are angry that we are not getting involved and picking sides. They feel we are being unfair.

Having supportive meetings to go to where there are parents dealing with similar issues, along with the PSST blog, keeps me from isolating and falling into a deep depression. Learning to find other interests to keep me busy does not mean that I have abandoned my daughters, but allows them to live their lives as I live mine.

When I first attended meetings, I was asked what I did for fun. I hated that question. I wasn't having any fun. I was feeling obligated to be in the trenches with my daughters. Slowly I have tried several hobbies and interests until I found what worked for me. After being laid off and having too much time on my hands, I have found a part time job where training took up a lot of my focus.  I have friends through PSST and other groups to share good times at art festivals, movies and baseball games.

The girls survived without my constant focus and I think it is better for all of us that I take better care of myself. Maybe by example they too will do the same, in their own time.


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A Mother's Letter to Her Son
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, August 04, 2014

Kathy Radigan, who is a blogger and published author, as well as the mother of three children, explains why she wrote a letter to her son about underage drinking:
So many parents take it as a foregone conclusion that their kids will engage in any manner of risky behavior . . .  But, I want him to know where I stand on engaging in behaviors that are at best risky and at worst illegal or life threatening.  I never want my son to say that I wasn’t clear about my feelings . . .

Here is a quote from the letter to her son:
Your father and I are so proud of the man you are becoming. We love you so much that we don’t care if you hate us. That’s our gift to you, we are your parents not your friends.

Click here  for the full article.

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