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April 18, 2005

Author to Speak on Child Bipolar Disorder

Noted Author to Speak on Childhood Bipolar Disorder

Press Release - 4/14/2005 7:58:00 AM

Paul Raeburn, the father of two children diagnosed with a mental illness and author of "Acquainted With the Night: A Parent's Quest to Understand Depression and Bipolar Disorder in His Children," will be the keynote speaker at the Families Together 10th Anniversary Conference held on May 1 and May 2, at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Albany, NY.

"Paul Raeburn's appearance at the Families Together Annual Conference will provide families, youth and providers with a first person testimonial on childhood mental health disorders and more importantly provide another step toward eliminating the stigma of we often face," says Paige Macdonald, Executive Director for Families Together, a parent-run organization offering support and information for families of children with special emotional, social and behavioral needs.

Paul Raeburn's son, Alex, was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after leaving his fifth-grade classroom in an inexplicable rage. He was hospitalized three times over the next three years, until he was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder by a psychiatrist. This ended a painful period of misdiagnosis and inappropriate drug therapy. Then Raeburn's younger daughter, Alicia, was diagnosed as suffering from depression after episodes of self-mutilation and suicidal thoughts. To save his children's lives, Paul used all the resources available to him as a science reporter and writer to educate himself about their diseases and various drugs and therapies available to help his children.

"Raeburn provides an enormous amount of useful information about diagnosis and treatment. He importantly also provides hope," says Kay Redfield Jamison, PhD, professor of psychiatry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Millions of families are often alone in coping with the ordeal of children's mental illness, unaware of how many others are struggling, too. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, almost 21 percent of U.S. children ages 9 to 17 have a diagnosable mental or addictive disorder that interferes substantially with school, family, community activities and other aspects of daily life. Of these children, fewer than one in five receive needed treatment. With early detection and appropriate treatment, chances are excellent that most children with mental health needs can recover and lead healthy lives.

The conference will also kick-off the nationally recognized Children's Mental Health Week, which is observed May 1 thru May 7 this year. The goal of Children's Mental Health Week is to increase public awareness about children's mental health.

Information about the annual conference can be found at http://www.ftnys.org.

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