Challenges of raising mentally ill kids

Mental Health
Posted at 7:08 PM, Dec 19, 2012

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--Peter Davey, was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder when he was 19 years old.

His mother Liz Downey says 5 years later it’s under control, but has been tough getting him to that stage.

"With my son he did have a complete personality change, he was very positive, warm and loving and once his illness hit, it was a big change," said Downey.

A change that Downey says put a strain their relationship for three years. It's also affected his friendships and relationships with other family members.

"It’s a struggle and of course they're going to lash out at the person that’s caretaking them because there is no one else, you know everyone else has kind of blown the coop, a lot of the family kinds of withdraw because they're uncomfortable, friends definitely disappear," said Downey.

But mental health experts like Judi Evans, Florida executive director for national alliance on mental illness says you have to be able identify the signs.

"Some of the things to look for are a change in eating and sleeping habits, withdrawal from friends family and a child's regular activities, violent actions, rebellious behavior, running a way,” said Evans.

But that’s just to name a few of the symptoms. While Evans says it may be difficult to realize what's happening to your child, its education that could help parents.

"Education is one of the most needed resources for mental health and recognition of a person that is in crisis," said Evans.

While there are some free resources for parents to get the education they need, mental health experts say programs need more money to increase the services they offer to patients.