Solving The Puzzle, Providing Support: Two Sources of Information and Insight


How can we help our loved ones in crisis? 

For members of the Mad in the Family community, that is the single most compelling and significant question — with the most complex array of answers. There’s no quick remedy to follow. No compact handbook with checklists and formulas for healing. No easy solution to the puzzle. 

But there are, indeed, answers to be heard, stories to be told, information and insights to be shared. Two sources can be found on Mad in America. First, E. Kent Winward just published his latest piece, “How to Advocate Effectively for Loved Ones Harmed by Psychiatric Drugs,” which breaks down all that he’s learned in advocating for his wife. 

Second, Mad in the Family’s new online panel discussion kicks off at 12 p.m. this Thursday, Aug. 10. “ “Supporting a Child, Teen, or Young Adult in Crisis” will feature three guests offering important perspectives: Ciara Fanlo, whose experiences as a teen inform her work as an adolescent mental-health coach; Morna Murray, who supported her son and runs Disability Rights Rhode Island; and Sami Timimi, a child/adolescent psychiatrist with a critical-psychiatry POV. 

If you can’t attend live, the recording will be available to all (and I’ll link to it here once it’s up).

As family editor for MIA, I’m constantly awed and inspired by my interactions with parents and others who help their loved ones bushwhack through both their mental and emotional struggles and subsequent psychiatric treatment and harms. I’m awed, too, by the enduring, insistent powers of hope and tenacity — or, to use my mother’s preferred term,  “stick-to-it-iveness” — in journeys so fraught with personal and systemic challenges. 

As Winward says in his blog post, “Effective advocacy is a daily practice in an infinite game. . . . It is a daily practice, sometimes hourly, to remind ourselves of how far we’ve come, what works and what doesn’t, and what steps we can take to win the current day. Daily practice, perseverance, and focus is the only way to address and accomplish such a large task.”

Take a look at his full piece, filled with nuanced and loving advice. Check out the family panel, either live or recorded. 

Then let me know, as always, what you think. Perhaps you have a story of your own you want to tell; perhaps you have ideas and insights you’d like to share. 

Whatever your thoughts, please reach out. We can’t learn unless we listen, and we can’t enlighten unless we speak.

—Amy Biancolli, Family Editor 

[email protected]


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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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