Parents and caregivers can get help and support for specific disorders from these foundations, forums, and news sources.


Bipolar Disorder

The Balanced Mind Foundation
Highly recommended: One of the best sites for bipolar children and teens and their families.  They have a library and a newsletter, educational resources, information on treatment and medications, and a nationwide directory of support groups and treatment providers to help parents.

Anxiety Disorders

Child Anxiety Network
Provides thorough, user-friendly information and a free email newsletter. There are listings for providers, recommended books, “coping cards,” and articles with practical parenting tips.

General Children’s Mental Health

The Total Transformation Program
This great “how to” program was created by a therapist who specializes in working with defiant children. It is a series of audio lessons on how to manage when specific behaviors come up, such as what to say and how to react in a given situation. The website includes a newsletter, parent-written articles, articles by mental health specialists, and a link to a parent blog.

The nationally recognized website of Dr. Stuart Ablon, the foremost authority on Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) for parents with troubled children and teens, and actually any child that needs help getting past resistance and defiance. Highly recommended.

Parenting Teens
This site is informative and broken down into specific sections such as “At Risk Youth Programs,” “Self Abuse in Teenagers,” and “Teens and the Juvenile Justice System.” Parents are able to add their own comments and articles to share with other parents. There are literally hundreds of topics to choose from.

For teens:  “The National Runaway Safeline (NRS) is here to listen whether you are thinking of running away or already have. Our services are confidential and nonjudgmental.”  24-7 help.

For parents:  NRS can offer you support and help connect you to the right resources for your family.  Give their crisis number to your child or their friend who you suspect may run.  24-7 help.

1-800-RUNAWAY or  (773) 880-9860



CHADD •• En Espagñol
Children and Adults With Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is an excellent site for exploring a wealth of ADHD knowledge. Family membership is $45, which includes Attention Magazine, news, advocacy information, stories about celebrities with ADHD, and much more. The site has links to help you locate a support group.

Autism Spectrum Disorders

Autism Society of America •• En Espagñol
Information  and help for everyone — family members and professionals, children and adults — on the autism spectrum. One must register to use the site, but once registered you gain access to free downloads and other services. ASA has chapters across the U.S. and a referral network.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

International OCD Foundation
“The mission of the International OCD Foundation is to help everyone affected by obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and related disorders to live full and productive lives. Our aim is to increase access to effective treatment, end the stigma associated with mental health issues, and foster a community for those affected by OCD and the professionals who treat them.”

Understanding OCD
For parents with a child with OCD symptoms, this site covers a broad range of topics: treatment, medications, therapists, books, FAQs, etc., with links for more help and information.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Support
This link connects to a community of patients, family members and friends dedicated to dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder together.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder
A very comprehensive site on all aspects of borderline personality disorder which includes a section for families. In addition to useful information on BPD, including videos and audio classes, are links to research and recommended books, conferences, and resources for professionals. Finally, we have intensive efforts to understand and treat this under-supported condition.


Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance •• En Espagñol
An excellent, easy-to-use site for both children and adults. It offers information on symptoms and medications, directories to providers, clinical trials and research, as well as chat groups and online forums to help parents.

Oppositional Defiant and Conduct Disorders
“A soft place to land for battle weary parents.”  A parent-friendly and supportive site with a lot of easy-to-find information: articles, books, forums, links. This website has information on most other childhood psychiatric disorders, too, not just conduct disorders.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD Alliance
An easy-to-use site that provides clear, concise information about PTSD in adults and children for the purpose of education. It is helpful for parents or guardians of children with PTSD. Offers two free downloadable booklets on PTSD, answers to FAQs, provider listings, and information about how to work with providers.

Get Involved: Advocacy and Support for Families

National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health
Highly recommended: A national parent-run organization for the support of families with children with mental disorders, and for advocacy for increased and improved children’s mental health treatment. The Federation of Families is active in so many valuable programs that it’s hard to list them all, but they include: school-based peer-to-peer programs for youth, youth-run advocacy, research, family support, education of schools and providers (e.g. American Association of Pediatricians) on the special needs of our children, and education of law enforcement and corrections institutions on the proper treatment of children with mental disorders.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
The oldest and largest mental health advocacy organization for the mentally ill of all ages and their families. NAMI and it’s chapters across the United States are largely responsible for major state and federal legislation on behalf of the mentally ill, including: insurance parity, humane treatment in psychiatric hospitals, and funding for research. They also have a Stigma Busters Campaign, numerous support groups, and classes for families and their loved ones in each state.

10 Replies to “Resources”

  1. Hi, You mentioned that you have a support group in Portland, OR. I live across the river in Washington. My son just turned 13. He has had a lifetime of problems with his mental and physical health. he has both a very good primary and psychiatric doctor who wont diagnose him just yet with anything other than psychotic disorder NOS, Mood disorder NOS, autism, ADHD and sensory disorder. But he is either bipolar or schizoaffective. I keep reading that you and other parents pulled there kid from school when they cant handle it anymore. He currently attends a special school for kids with extreme behaviors and HATES every minute of it. He did not last year. I think it is the teachers, they are planning to send him to regular middle school in a few weeks and are trying to prepare him by being tough on him. They will likely place him in a social/communications room for autistic kids but I fear this will not solve his problems. I homeschooled him from K-2 it gave us PTSD so that wont work. I just don’t know what to do with him. He is still in second grade work with limited comprehension even though he is in a seventh grade class. He is not making progress. I think his executive function has stopped progressing as a result of spina bifida (Wikipedia the info to see what I see). I am stumped!

  2. Any resources for Schitzoaffective disorder? We currently see a psychiatrist, psychologist and have been approved for home therapy 3 days a week. However, nobody really talks to us about the disorder, what to expect, and most importantly how to manage. We adopted our daughter when she was 3 and is turning 16 in a couple of months. After hospitalization earlier this month she was diagnosed with the disorder and us telling everyone we are missing something. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog. I have felt inadequate, frustrated, felt this is beyond our capability and grieving of what I thought everything would be like as she approached her high school years. Are there support groups? We live in the Knoxville, TN area. ~ Michelle

    1. Hi Michelle,
      Schizoaffective is one of the most difficult disorders to work with because of the complicated symptoms. You know this and are taking the right steps to help your daughter–you really are. You are also asking the right question about what to do at home. I suggest scrolling to the end of my post titled “Life with a Schizoaffective Teen ( and find a list of things that WORK. You can indeed reduce your child’s negative symptoms and help improve her behavior. More important(!), you can ease her stress and anxiety from enduring the torture her brain inflicts on her. There’s also a glimmer of hope for your daughter:

      1) People with schizoaffective disorder experience more success in life than those with a schizophrenia diagnosis.

      2) I’ve met adults with S-A with a life of well being, and my child is one of them. The meds are working (and the side-effects are tolerable). At the end of the post are dozens of comments, including some from individuals living with S-A disorder. These may be really helpful.

      You are also asking about the most important thing that will help your daughter: >your Second, the National Alliance for Mental Health at Their sites can point you to support groups. Since Knoxville is relatively close to Ashville, North Carolina, you might see what’s available there. It’s a long drive, but even one visit will help immensely. In my group, families come from over 100 miles occasionally. When they see and speak with so many others parents like them for the first time, who have the same experiences, it is astonishing to see how much of their stress or pain is relieved.

      Take good care and don’t hesitate to ask more questions.


  3. My 10 year old son has been severely traumatized by my very bad behavior both before during and after my divorce from his father 2 years ago. He cannot seem to make friends, and even though I have gotten a bit better (no longer crying all the time around him and treating him like my confidante and not a little boy) the damage is done. I feel terrible, and am desperate to help him. He has a therapist and is in a psychosocial group but it doesnt seem to be helping. I have no family in town, very few friends and my relationship with his father is toxic. I am ashamed of how I have behaved so selfishly and afraid for his future. How do I help?

    1. Hello Patty,
      Good for you for admitting to your own bad behavior and seeking to make amends. A lot of people never do this. It takes courage and backbone and humility. Give yourself some credit here. Also, your son is traumatized by the divorce, but it’s not all your fault even if you’ve behaved badly. Divorce is traumatizing, period. In the aftermath of difficult divorces, when parental conflict is severe or “toxic,” episodes and stress will retraumatize a child.

      But there are things you can do. First, forgive yourself and be kind to yourself. You’ve had enough grief. Second, apologize frankly to your son, but don’t go into much detail. It should be like: “Mommy was really angry and upset, and I noticed this was really hard on you, and probably really scary, and I’m really sorry for my behavior. I love you so much and I want you to know it will never happen again.” Don’t seek forgiveness, instead show leadership and resolve. It’s very important that you are reassuring. Last, have HOPE. You will get through this and so will your son. Many people have overcome traumas and thrived!

      If your son is like a lot of children of divorce, he also needs to know that IT’S NOT HIS FAULT. Children too often feel responsible for their parents’ problems, or ashamed they couldn’t fix their parents’ problems. He probably also wants to know that he’s not losing his father, that he will still have a relationship with his father. This is a common concern of children of divorce; they feel they must choose between one or the other.

      I suggest you get therapy together with your son. He needs to know how you feel, and you need to know how he feels. Therapy alone will never answer his burning concerns and questions. Also, I suggest seeking mental health treatment with a pediatrician or psychiatrist. Your son may not have a chronic mental illness, but he needs more medical intervention. There are gentle medications that are safe for young children which help them sleep and ease stress. When your son feels better, he can benefit much more from therapy.

      Last, get some therapy help for yourself, too. If not a therapist per se, a faith community, or exercise, or time with friends, or meditation or yoga. Also consider an anti-depressant. A little support for at least 6 months will help you deal with stressful situations in a different more effective way. It also helps one deal with some of the painful things that come up in therapy.

      Hang in there. You’ve already turned yourself around and started seeking help. This is huge. Have hope.


    1. Hi Brandie,

      It’s not what other people think, it’s what YOU think. Parents usually have good sense of their child. You can do several things to find out what your daughter needs: 1) Talk to the school counselor at her school, explain your concerns, and ask what the counselor thinks, 2) You can take her to a regular doctor and tell them clearly what you think is wrong with her and ask for advice or referral to a therapist, 3) You can take her to a therapist you choose on your own, someone who specializes in children, and ask for an assessment. This will be a one-time visit so the therapist can determine how serious your daughter’s problems are and recommend what to do for treatment.

      Take care, and don’t hesitate to write back,


    1. Hello Tomeka,

      Help is out there! There are ways to help both you and your son. As in another post, you can seek help from NAMI. I don’t know which or city you are in, but most states have a NAMI Chapter (National Alliance for Mental Illness) and you can locate one near you starting at Next is the Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. Their main website is

      Other places to get help: your son’s doctor, school counselor, or a minister if you have one. Sometimes, these individuals will not take you seriously. They may not believe how serious your son is; they may think you are exaggerating. Be strong and assert yourself, insist they take the time to listen to you and take you seriously. Describe how your son’s behavior is affecting you and your family, tell them you need help now, or to refer you to someone who treats serious behavior problems. You can also contact a therapist yourself anytime and ask for an assessment. This can be done in one session. Good luck,


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