Every family who is raising or has raised a child with emotional, behavioral or mental health challenges probably has a story to tell. By sharing a piece of your journey or something you have learned along the way you can be a source of hope, inspiration and support to other families! To view stories submitted by other families click here.
The goal of the family stories section is simply for you to have the opportunity to share something you feel other families may need or want to hear and for others to have an opportunity to read stories that they can relate to, learn from and most importantly realize that they are not alone and there are other families out there facing similar issues.
When sharing your story you can be as creative as you’d like. Your story does not have to be formal and your grammar and spelling does not have to be perfect! It’s totally up to you to decide what you feel like sharing and writing about and how.
Ideas For Sharing Your Story:
We know that deciding what to write is often the hardest step in sharing your story, so here are some ideas to help you:
You could write about one particular experience or maybe share a glimpse of what a typical day looks like in your home, you can share your favorite pick me up, your secret to getting your child to sleep, or what you do to take care for yourself.
Your story can be long or short or be in the form of a poem, a quote, a parenting strategy or tip.
You could share your biggest challenges or your proudest moment, how you felt on your worst day or when you finally found success! Or you could simply share how it feels at the end of one of those days…whatever you feel best represents you and the message you would like to share with other families.
What If I’m Nervous About Telling My Story?
Relax! You are most likely a storyteller already. You share experiences with family and friends all the time. You share information with other parents about what works and what doesn’t with your kids. You interact and talk with others in your community at the store, school events, the park, etc. Remember you don’t have to be a master storyteller or writer to share your expertise!
What If I Don’t Feel Comfortable Sharing My Story?
If you feel that this isn’t for you and you don’t want to write a story at this time that’s okay too! Feel free to browse and enjoy other family’s stories. We hope their experience can help you or make you feel inspired or hopeful!
Before Sharing/Submitting Your Story Please Read This:
Sharing your story does carry risks; the biggest being risks to your child and family’s privacy. ACMH is always conscious about protecting the privacy of the families we serve. So in an effort to ensure safety and confidentiality we ask that you not use last names and you may even want to consider creating fictitious names or using son, daughter, or my child, instead of your child’s name. If you’d like us to change names for you or remove your personally identifiable information, just let us know that at the end of your story.
I want to be sure to stress that we are not asking you to keep names private because we feel mental health is something to be ashamed of! We only want to be sure your privacy is protected and that you have control of when and how personal information about you and your family is shared and with whom.
To help families and youth control their personal information, ACMH always advises using ‘strategic sharing’ when sharing life experiences.
Strategic Sharing is telling your story in a way that is meaningful, effective & safe! That means making good choices about how we tell our life stories so our voices are heard, our message is effective and what we intended, and our well-being and privacy is protected! Your # 1 priority should always be to protect yourself and your family and do no harm!
Remember to ‘Keep it Real’ and tell your story in a way that you are comfortable sharing. Keep in mind that your knowledge, expertise, and experience as a parent of a child with a mental health challenge is very valuable and your story is an important and powerful tool! It can raise awareness, sensitivity and help make it easier for other families on similar journeys and it can even create positive change. By sharing your story you can let others know what is truly challenging and helpful for real life kids & families. You can show your audience that kids with mental health challenges are still just kids and they live in regular old families.
Thank you for helping us to ‘put a face’ on the issue’ which goes a long way to help raise awareness and reduces stigma!
Directions for Submitting Your Story:
Click here to go to the Share Your Story page.
You can type your story right into the box on the page or if you prefer you can create your story in a WORD or other document and then copy and paste it in to the box when you are done.
If you would like some help with your story before you submit it you can type it into the reply box below and the ACMH Education Coordinator can look at your story and provide any help you need before you post it.
If writing or typing isn’t your thing but you really want to share your story call the ACMH office and let them know you would like to dictate your message and they can post it for you.
All stories go to the ACMH Webmaster before they are posted to the site so please do not worry if it doesn’t seem to post perfectly. We will make sure everything is formatted for the page before we post it.
Thanks again for sharing your time, yourself and your story!