Sunday, March 18, 2018

Shocking Journey of Parenting a Child with Behavioral Health Challenges

Please watch this video and imagine this was your grandchild, sister or best friend.

I know this mom. She lives right here in King County WA. Searching for help, finding there is little we have to offer. She has tried Childrens Hospital, Ryther, Wrap Around Intensive Services, special education, Children's Crisis Response Services, the police, even reaching out to me because I'm public about my journey with my children.

Her journey is not exceptional, but unfortunately, it is the norm. Her friends don't rally with meals and respite and spa treatment surprises. Yet she persists to share her story to try to help others that suffer the same tragedy.

This child didn't do anything to deserve autism, just like a child doesn't deserve lukemia or to have a parent die. His 11 year old sister is impacted as much as everyone who opens their hearts to this family. Who is standing by her side? Who is supporting her after a night of fear huddling with her mother in a locked rooom waiting for the police to come.

Sadly, few will open their hearts, it is just too painful and frightening to bear. We must change how we help families like this one. We rally to get a pet raccoon taken out of a cage in a parking lot and we are appalled by a puppy dying in an overhead bin, but we are silent in the face of this despair and human suffering this child faces EVERY DAY.

On Friday I sat in a meeting where people told of their struggles to find help for their famliies. One child was served a bench warrant while in the psychiatric hospital for failure to appear for court (was put in jail for this), one 23 year old spent 13 MONTHS in solitary confinement in 2016-2017, another 18 year old was discharged from a psychiatric hospital 4 hours from home while exhibiting pychotic symptoms and not provided any way to get home.

These stories are just the tip of the iceberg. Seems like I hear a new one. Every. Single. Day. (Thank you Facebook.)

We have some promising solutions that aren't been implemented as they were designed. Our own well-intentioned County employees think that we have a cutting edge wrap around intensive program -- that has changed very little since it began 30 years ago. We can start by holding our local governments accountable for delivering what is already part of the law. I'm in the fight on this daily. Will you join me?

I urge you to join this Facebook Group [] if you'd like to be part creating a compassionate community that is working to build a community that responds to families in crisis with caring and love.