Monthly Archives: December 2012

Scary Words and Mental Health

Boar's HeadThe world of diagnostic evaluation is full of scary words.  It’s bad enough that your child may have some disorder that needs ongoing treatment.  Even worse is the concept that there are multiple things “wrong” with your child. Is it really necessary to attach an ultra-scary word, like comorbidity, to this concept?

What the medical and mental health world need are marketing experts to find friendlier alternatives to their scary terms.  To me, a word like comorbidity makes me think of someone who is morbid, that is, obsessed with disease, dying and death.  Add a “co” and all I can think of is “double doom and gloom.”  Listen, we’re already at the therapist’s office because we are afraid for our child.  We do not need doom and gloom.  We need a ray of hope.

So, maybe instead of thinking of our children as multiply disordered, maybe we could just think of them as having additional “features.”  After all, a double feature is usually associated with a good thing in the real world. It also gets us thinking about what is distinctive and unique about our children (a positive thought) rather than what is wrong with them.

Because while  therapists and school administrators desperately need to check boxes in order to link into proper funding streams, parents don’t check boxes. We get through each day, trying to remember positive ways to motivate and challenge our kids.  And if our child is “triple-featured,” so be it.  That child must be some sort of special deluxe edition.


Let’s face it.  Parenting can be challenging for just about everyone.  But raising a child who struggles with emotional or behavioral issues often can seem like more than you can handle.

We are all parents of children with mental health conditions in Hennepin County and we are offering this site to help others like us to find resources, support, and a stronger voice in advocating for families and children like ours.