Promoting Hope, Preventing Suicide

Research and advice on preventing teen and adult suicide

How to Talk to Your Child About Mental Illness

If my father hadn’t died, I don’t know how we would have talked about his illness as a family. But, it’s something I think about more and more these days, especially after being asked by a friend struggling with mental illness how to talk about it with his child. Read More

mental health

My husband is bipolar. He was hospitalized years ago when our son was 4 and our daughter was 2. I had no one to talk to about it. He wasn't diagnosed bipolar at that time it would be another ten years before he was correctly diagnosed. For years he was diagnosed at major depressive.

I was always up front with our kids that he had a mental illness. This made my husband's family uncomfortable they wouldn't and still don't talk about it.
My own family told me to divorce him. I was alienated without support. I have spent many years educating myself fighting for his stability. Teaching my kids that their father is ill.

Thank you for your article. Years ago people weren't suppose to speak of cancer or pregnancy in public now we can. Hopefully someday mental illness with be spoken without shame and stigma.

RE: mental health

Trish, thanks for your comment and for talking with your kids about your husband's mental illness. I agree with you wholeheartedly in the hope that some day mental illness will be as out in the open as other health issues.

All the best,

Elana

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Elana Premack Sandler, M.S.W., M.P.H., is a public health social worker specializing in violence and injury prevention and adolescent health promotion.

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