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Book explores challenges for parents of mentally ill children

May 19, 2011

Parents of mentally ill children face many challenges as they attempt to survive each day, obtain help, and reach out for support. In his new book, author Craig Winston LeCroy, Ph.D. and professor in the School of Social Work at Arizona State University, lets families share their misunderstood emotions of shame, anger, fear, guilt, and powerlessness in the face of stigma from professionals, family, and friends. The book explores the social policies that must be implemented to help these families.

According to one estimate, nearly 21 percent of U.S. children ages 9 to 17 have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder with some recognizable impairment. What is it like for the parents who have to care for, mentor, and protect these children day in and day out, often far beyond their childhood years? How do they cope? How can society help?

The Surgeon General has identified children's mental illness as a national problem that creates a burden of suffering so serious as to be considered a health crisis. Yet, what it means to be the parent of a mentally ill child has not been adequately considered, until now. Parenting Mentally Ill Children: Faith, Caring, Support, and Surviving the System captures the essence of caring for these youngsters, providing resources and understanding for parents, and an instructive lesson for society.

The book offers a new perspective that paints an in-depth portrait of the everyday life parents face as they address their children’s problems, offers new insights and understandings about children’s mental illness, and discusses the social policies that need to be implemented to address the needs of these underserved parents.

LeCroy has published extensively in children's mental health, including more than ten books. His published works include: Handbook of Evidence-Based Treatment Manuals for Children and Adolescents; Case Studies in Child, Adolescent, and Family Treatment; and Empowering Adolescent Girls.