Usually when this column mentions my family, it’s in a wisecracking context. But we all know family life isn’t always a laugh riot. Much of the past stress-filled two years in the Casey household makes for a good example.
Our daughter Erin, the second-oldest of four, developed some serious mental health issues. She has a type of bipolar disorder.
Not too many months ago, she was calling me and my wife, Donna, multiple times a day, despairing that she wanted to die. Words can’t describe how helpless that leaves you feeling as a parent.
Three times Erin, now 22, was hospitalized so she wouldn’t take her own life. She also has an eating disorder, and for that she spent three weeks in a psychiatric program in Arizona last summer.
The good news is Erin is now being treated by a psychiatrist at Carilion Clinic, Dr. David Hartman. He’s been able to help her in ways other psychiatrists could not. She’s back in school full time as a senior at James Madison University, where she’s thriving.
Erin’s also taking what she’s learned through this ordeal and is trying to help others. And that’s the short story behind an event she’s organizing here in the Roanoke Valley next month. It’s a program called “Where I Stand” on Oct.27 at Andrew Lewis Middle School in Salem.
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