There is help and support for specific disorders available from these foundations, forums, and news sources.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 very family-friendly and supportive site with a lot of information that is easy to find: articles, books, forums, links. Provides information on most other childhood psychiatric disorders, too, not just conduct disorders.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
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.