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'I am Adam Lanza's Mother' resonates with parents of mentally ill kids

By Carole Mikita | Posted - Dec. 17, 2012 at 8:01 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — The images and the information that came from Newtown, Connecticut prompted a mother in Idaho to write a blog post which has resonated online.

Under the title, "I am Adam Lanza's Mother," Liza Long wrote about her own fears about her mentally ill son.

"He's 13-years-old," Long said. "I love my son but he terrifies me."

Some advice from experts
  • If you have tried therapy, medication, an institution and it's not working, do not give up: Go to another
  • If your child threatens himself or herself or you, or hits you, get immediate help by calling 911 or the UNI crisis hotline 801-587-3000
We have created a link on our website to: UNI, NAMI... etc.

"Every time I hear about a mass shooting, I think about my son. And I wonder if someday, I'll be that mom."

Dr. Tom Conover, a psychiatrist who treats young people with mental illnesses at University Neuropsychiatric Institute, said no one should live in fear. He advises parents to keep trying if one therapist or medication doesn't work.

"Let's say somebody sought help for a problem and they were 13 or 14 years old, and they didn't help as much as they thought it would," Connover said. "It makes perfect sense to seek help again, even in as short a time as a year or two."

Long wrote in her blog about not having any good choices. She recently admitted her son to a mental healthcare facility after he threatened to hurt her and himself. Many other parents in a similar situation are now sharing her story, and their own fears, such as losing their rights to care for their children.

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Conover said that rarely happens.

"Here at UNI, we have an inpatient hospital program for children and adolescents. The vast majority of those children and adolescents are admitted for several days and they go right back home where they started."

The vast majority of young people are more likely to harm themselves than they are to attack others, according to Connover.

"That crisis can usually be resolved and then the inpatient stay is usually a catalyst to getting the services that that child needs," he said.

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