Parenting is hard enough, then add in mental illness, and it can seem hopeless. Have you ever felt alone while you attempted to understand and parent your child experiencing mental health problems? Are the day to day struggles weighing on you? Do you struggle with what to do or say when your child is acting out? Do you feel lost in an endless battle? We are here to tell you that you are not alone. Not only are you not alone, we can add tools and knowledge to your parenting toolbox in order for you to find your best methods for managing your child’s issues.
Common struggles of mental health among children:
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Suicidal ideation
- Agression/violent behavior
- Medication management
- Defiant behavior
- Tantrums and meltdowns
- Communication issues
- Academic struggles
- Episodes with police
- Phone and gaming addiction
- Social media
- Explicit photos
- Running away/ Sneaking out
- Lack of self-esteem
- Eating issues
Where do we go from here?
Breiane Cage, owner and therapist at PAASI Family Therapy, met Kimberly Kuhn, a single mom all too aware of the lack of resources for parents dealing with mental health issues in their children. After years of struggling without answers, she decided it was time to take action for herself and all the other parents who were struggling. She went searching for a therapist who could not only facilitate a support group, but could also provide answers and education to parents like her.
Here is her story…
I created this group because as a single mom struggling to help my teen daughter with her mental health issues, there was never any support for me. I had so many questions on what to do with situations I’ve encountered daily with her. The therapists and doctors often told me to just focus on my own self-care. Not only did I not know what to do, I was not comforted with any answers. The focus was always on her, no support groups for this kind of thing.
When my daughter was at the end of eighth grade, I got a call to work that she had brought cigarettes to school. That was over three years ago. Never did I imagine this nightmare was just the beginning. She started to become more distant, quiet, and withdrawn. We had always been so close, I thought it was just teen hormones. As time went on however, I discovered she had been cutting her arms and legs. I was devastated and scared. I didn’t know a whole lot at the time about cutting. She became depressed and ridden with anxiety. Her friends were slowly withdrawing from her life. Even though we were both in therapy, things became worse.
She started skipping school, smoking pot and vaping, her honor roll grades went way down, she began sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night to meet a boy. She became sexually active at age 15. The cutting continued and her behavior also became more defiant and aggressive. I became scared of my own child. I didn’t recognize her anymore. At one point I was even arrested for domestic violence. I was angry that she wasn’t taking her medication and scratched her shoulder while attempting to take her phone away. She had thrown things down the stairs at me. The police later became regular visitors and had a better understanding.
Nobody understood what I was going through. I was mentally exhausted and started to self-medicate with alcohol. I started to lose time at work because many times she was still missing when I woke up. The most frustrating part is I felt so alone with no answers. We tried an outpatient facility during school hours but had no positive effects. After an attempted suicide, we waited in a children’s hospital for about 8 days until a bed became available and she was admitted. The facility was over an hour away from home. I lost more time from work and was eventually fired.
She has come along way since then, she is now in 12th grade. We’ve begun to grow our relationship again, she’s been on medication for depression, anxiety, and bipolar. But while dealing with so many hospitals and therapists, the only advice I was given was to take care of myself. There were no answers for how I was to deal with her and the daily struggles. I found support groups on social media for parents also struggling. It gave me the comfort that I was not alone.
Together, Kimberly and Breiane, have created a place for parents who also need answers. We have created a multi-faceted solution to fit the needs of parents. From small group meetings via zoom to a private facebook group, the needs of parents are our first priority. PAASI stands for Plan Action to Achieve Success & Ingenuity, and that is exactly what we hope parents will do by joining our groups. Become a PAASI Parent by filling out the form below!
Education + Support Group
This group is a discussion series on evidence-based skills that can be used to proactively help a child’s mental health, while also attending to the members and their current day-to-day struggles. Each session will include an educational portion and a support discussion among members. Education and group facilitation will be done by Breiane Cage, a licensed therapist and certified life coach.
Specific Issues Support Group
This group will be geared towards the current struggles of each member. Discussions of the personal issues and possible solutions will be the focus. Group facilitation will be done by Breiane Cage, a licensed therapist and certified life coach.
Private Facebook Group
This group will be a place for daily interaction. It will allow the members to ask questions and receive feedback from both a licensed therapist and fellow parents who have previously dealt with the same issues. It will be a place of education, encouragement, and support.