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Children and Adolescents

WELCOME. We have been there.

Discovering that your child has been diagnosed with a mental illness can be confusing and scary. Dealing with the day to day demands of a child with mental illness can be overwhelming and isolating. There is continual crisis and chaos. Unless you know others who have a child with mental illness, other parents cannot understand what you are experiencing. You may feel judged by others, even other family members, and feel like you are a inadequate parent or that somehow it is your fault. On top of all these feelings, there is grief which can lead to anger and depression. Your family life and dreams for your child’s future have been shattered.

The most important thing a parent can do is educate themselves about mental illness. Not just about the diagnosis but also about treatments, medications, mental health providers, dealing with the school system, hospitalization, treatment centers, the judicial system, insurance, communication skills with your child, and learning how to take care of yourself. There is no better source for this information than other parents who have traveled this journey.

Finding a support group with other parents who understand what you’re going through is very important. By educating yourself and connecting with others you can contribute to improving the chances of your child’s recovery.

NAMI La Crosse County offers education and support. For more information, please check our education classes.

If you suspect your child may have a brain disorder or mental illness, or if you wonder what is normal developmental appropriate behavior versus behavior that might indicate a possible mental health issue, you can obtain information at The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry ( Here you can find a downloadable copy of their fact sheet titled “Normalcy” as well as a variety of other topics.

NAMI’s Child & Adolescent Action Center provides a wealth of information regarding children and adolescent mental illness. Visit the Action Center Now

If you would like the latest information regarding the changes to the DSM-V regarding pediatric bipolar, check out the press release from The Juvenile Bipolar Foundation.


Crisis hotline for college students:

Websites for youth regarding mental health:


American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

American Academy of Pediatrics

CHADD (Child and Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation

Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health

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