What is Bipolar?

According to the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundations' website, Bipolar disorder (also known as manic-depression) is a serious but treatable medical illness. It is a disorder of the brain marked by extreme changes in mood, energy, thinking and behavior.

Unlike adults whose cycles tend to be made on a predictable cycle of maybe a couple times a year, children tend to suffer from more rapid-cycling, maybe even multiple times with in the same day, and hypomania, showing signs of both mania and depression at the same time.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mental Health Services

After much paperwork and many appointments, Michael was shown to qualify for the Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) waiver through Medicaid. This allowed him more services than we would have ever thought possible.

Michael would begin with a Case Manager that would coordinate all of his services. The particular one that we began with was awesome and stayed with us for more than a year. We're now on our fifth. Some have been better than others and some definitely communicate better with me than others.

Michael would also have Attendant Care. These persons would work one-on-one with Michael to achieve goals established on his Plan of Care. They worked in the school, home and community to build skills, redirect inappropriate behaviors and support him emotionally. He had several different workers at many different times depending on his stability over the years. He currently has no attendant care.

Michael attended Psychosocial Group (PSG), a gathering of children, in this case, aged 6-18 years old. PSGs assist in a peer group setting with improving social skills, positive peer relationships, problem solving skills, promotion of health, and leisure time skills. Unfortunately, with the variances of ages in this group, we did not have success as more behaviors came home than what he was being treated for. In talking to some professionals since then, this is not uncommon as the kids can get into a I can be worse than you mentality to one up each other the following week.

I also received services through the community mental health services through a Parent Support Person (PSP). My first attempt at this was unsuccessful as there was only one contact with me made. The second attempt a couple years later was very successful in that I found a wonderful PSP who had children with similar issues and had already traveled the path we were going down.

Michael's use of services has waxed and waned depending on his stability. As we are in good times right now, he sees his Case Manager every week and is now a member of a Youth Leadership group for Mental Illnesses.

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