April 5, 2024

Helping the Helpers: Graduate School of Professional Psychology Launches Clinic for Families of Children with Mental Health Conditions

Thanks to a generous grant from the Caring for Denver Foundation, the Graduate School of Professional Psychology (GSPP) at the University of Denver will launch the Family Support Clinic – offering critical services to parents of dependents in Denver aged 13-25 who are experiencing conditions such as bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders, schizophrenia, and significant mood disorders.

“Parenting in these challenging circumstances requires a great deal of fortitude and persistence,” explains Professor Judith Fox, program lead. “It is pretty difficult to do your best as a parent when you feel distressed, exhausted, isolated or traumatized by what’s going on with your child—and such feelings are understandable and common.”

The Family Support Clinic will provide parents with a supportive space to talk about their personal stresses and challenges, equipping them with the tools to balance self-care with the care needed to support their vulnerable loved ones. The Clinic’s goal is to help families feel less isolated and more understood, giving them ways to speak with others about their challenges and feel less stigmatized and alone.

University graduate students who are participating in the Clinic will be working in partnership with the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) to deliver NAMI training, classes, and talks in the community, working to increase provider and peer education and develop a richer understanding of the needs of this population.

“While these significant mental health conditions may require ongoing treatment and attention throughout one’s life, they can be successfully managed—and people can live satisfying, full lives,” Fox says. “The support of parents and family makes all the difference in achieving these positive outcomes.”

The clinic launched services in October 2023. Interested Denver families are encouraged to contact the Family Support Clinic through Judith.Fox@du.edu, where services will be offered at no charge.