Family Panel Discussion – Supporting a Child, Teen, or Young Person in Crisis

by Raj Das

This week we are sharing the audio from a recently held online discussion on supporting a child, teen, or young adult in crisis. The host, Amy Biancolli, is joined by guest speakers Ciara Fanlo, Morna Murray, and Sami Timimi. The panelists share their personal experiences and perspectives on supporting young individuals through difficult times.

The discussion begins with each panelist introducing themselves. Ciara Fanlo, a recovered troubled teen, talks about her experiences growing up and the various interventions her parents sought to help her. Morna Murray, a parent, shares her journey supporting her son through distress and her perspective on labels and diagnoses. Sami Timimi, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, discusses his concerns about the current psychiatric model and the need to rehabilitate emotions.

Ciara opens up about her struggles as a troubled teen, including feelings of sadness and anxiety. She started therapy at a young age and began self-harming at just 10 years old. She also started taking medication at 12. Throughout her adolescence, she felt a sense of aloneness and struggled to make sense of her experiences.

Morna emphasizes the importance of humility in supporting young individuals in crisis. She shares her son’s journey, which has included diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder, bipolar disorder, mood disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. However, Morna expresses her discomfort with labels and believes they can be stigmatizing and unhelpful. She has learned to value humility and acknowledges that she doesn’t have all the answers.

Sami provides a unique perspective as a psychiatrist who challenges the current psychiatric model. He questions the validity of psychiatric diagnoses and believes they function more as commercial brands. He urges for a deeper understanding of the root causes of mental health struggles and questions the impact of a system that treats emotions as something to be controlled rather than understood.

The panelists’ stories highlight the challenges faced by young individuals in crisis and their loved ones. They also shed light on the limitations and potential harm of the current psychiatric approach. Listening to their stories can offer valuable insights to parents, professionals, and anyone interested in understanding and supporting young people through difficult times.

The discussion is raw, honest, and thought-provoking. It encourages listeners to challenge existing norms and seek alternative approaches to supporting young individuals in crisis. By sharing their stories and perspectives, the panelists aim to create a conversation about the challenges, healing, and hope that come with supporting young people in distress.

In conclusion, the audio discussion on supporting a child, teen, or young adult in crisis provides valuable insights and perspectives. Ciara, Morna, and Sami share their personal stories and challenge existing models of support and treatment. The discussion serves as a reminder of the importance of listening, understanding, and offering compassion to young individuals in distress.

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