As a parent I want to do everything I can to prepare my children for life so they are able to navigate through anything including heartbreak, setbacks, fears and disappointments, all from a place of balance.  I want them to have the tools they need to be whole emotionally, mentally and spiritually as they learn to make decisions for themselves. I want them to believe they can have any life they want and do whatever they set their minds to.  I wanted them to believe they could do anything because I believed it.  October 26, 2016 at 6:48pm was the night I had to tell my son Chris I didn’t believe it for him anymore.

I watched as a stranger handed him my petition for guardianship. I cried.

Having two children older than Chris, I know how hard it is to figure out when to step in and when to let go. I never imaged how much more difficult it would be having a child dealing with mental illness.  It was much harder.  Stepping aside, letting go, could be disastrous: homelessness; failing health; jail; drug abuse or even, tragically, suicide. In the span of 5 months Chris would experience all of those things except the last one, but I feared it every second of every day. Of all the things I want for my children, peace and happiness is the most important. Being trapped in your own mind, fearful of the world around you, is it even possible to have a moment of peace or happiness? I wondered if it was even possible for him to know what that looks like.

SOMEONE'S SOMEONE is a program birthed from the personal experience  and how a community of family, friends and strangers pulled together to take care of my son while I awaited the outcome of a guardianship petition. (read my facebook journal here ) It is a terrible feeling when you can see your child needs helps, you want to help but you have no idea where to begin. Add to that the stigma of mental health and you back yourself into a corner, afraid to even ask.

 After our story was shared in the local paper, (read it here) I was contacted by several parents dealing with the same situation and I was prompted to do something! The biggest hurdle I found was not just resources, mainly attorney fees, but TIME.  They were burnt out, drained or just didn’t have the time to make the calls or follow up on information.

That’s where I would like to help. The program is in the early stages but to start, we will have a few main functions.
1) Provide advocacy support to families of those with a mental illness.During my time advocating for my son, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at 22, I was on the phone, nonstop, from the time I woke up until end of the business day, gathering information about everything from legal help to residential treatment facilities.  Not every parent or guardian has the time to do this; if I would've had a 9-5 job, I wouldn't have been able to and my son would have ended up back on the streets.

 2) Financial assistance with legal fees. The cost of getting guardianship can be deterrent for some moving forward with helping their loved one. I was fortunate enough to have a community that was willing to help me with the filing fees and an attorney willing to do the leg work pro bono.

We want to be able to assist 5-8 people in our first year. That may not seem like much, but I know five families right now who could benefit from a program like this and are desperate for it.

Here is our GoFundMe if you are able to help.  Everything matters! If you are unable to give, please share.

Click to Donate Now!

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