Parents Are Experts Too Often Ignored


When it comes to understanding a child in distress, parents are experts. Unfortunately, when it comes to dealing with the psychiatric establishment, those experts are often ignored. 

Far too many members of the Mad in the Family community know this scenario far too well, having advocated for their own kids, no matter their age, as they navigate a system seemingly designed not to heed either the people in its care or the loved ones doing their best to help.

To correct this—to hand the bullhorn to caregivers, giving them a chance to be heard—writer Shelley Karpaty has kicked off a new series, “Giving Parents a Platform,” which features one-on-one interviews with folks who’ve worked hard to support and speak up for their children when they’re most in need. 

Her first parent highlighted in the series is Elianna, mother of Brandon, a young man who has endured numerous diagnoses, medications, hospitalizations, and trauma at the hands of police. “Brandon is my only priority in life,” his mother says near the end of the story—which is both heartbreaking and illuminated with love. 

Please read it—and feel free, as ever, to email me ([email protected]) with your thoughts, concerns, and hopes. If you like, you can also join the community and conversation in the Mad in the Family Facebook group

As Karpaty writes in her introduction, “We need to start listening to their parents. This is paramount for the medical professionals in charge, whose job is to comprehend people in their care but who, too often, ignore the voices around them that have the most to say.”

In the coming months, keep your eyes peeled for future articles in her series, which will offer a platform to more parents committed to helping their children. Let’s give them the stage, let them speak, and listen. It’s not just important, but imperative. 

-Amy Biancolli, Family Editor


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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