Parents4Care for Serious Mental Illness

$29,885 of $125,000 goal

Raised by 345 people in 57 months
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When my son was stricken with schizophrenia in 2008, I had 200 thousand dollars in the bank, my life's savings. Three years later, we were broke. The majority of the money went to self-paid intake and therapy appointments at first; then transportation for him to therapist, labs, doctor appointments, hospital deposits and medical payments. It went to  hired  "sitters" who checked in on him, or stayed with him, so I could work; it went to outrageously priced medications--upwards of 1300$ for a single monthly injection over 6 months; it went to court and legal fees, parking, cabs, hotels, flights, a supervised housing group home at 5500-6K per month for nearly a year; and to a girl hired to do only insurance paperwork --

It turns out, I'm not alone by a long shot.

Families of severely mentally ill children and young adults, like those with schizophrenia, go bankrupt more than any other families with chronically ill members. This is due to lack of insurability, self-pay requirements for psychiatry, lengthy inpatient stays, exorbitant medication costs, legal fees, and traveling to care. Most post-acute care for serious mental illness is not covered by insurance, so families cannot take advantage of Step-Down programs hospitals offer to bridge the gaps in care between hospital and home. For example, just one week of Step Down care at Johns Hopkins costs $20,000. Additionally, outpatient therapist appointments cost $150 to $250 an hour self-paid. An intake appointment for a Psychiatric Rehab Day Program at Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital (one hour) and a therapy appointment (one hour) cost $600 each. These forms of high quality care are not covered for many psychiatric illnesses.

When you consider that the stabilization period for a person with severe mental illness – such as schizophrenia – is 10 years, you begin to understand how continuous, appropriate, high-quality care is virtually unattainable for most families without some type of financial help.

Learn More About Serious Mental Illness


PARENTS FOR CARE is an organization that seeks to assist these families financially by donating necessary fees to help families in their journey to care, including plane fare to get to a hospital setting; parking, hotel, transportation and food costs while a child is hospitalized; hospital deposits on uninsured portions; and child care for other siblings.

PARENTS FOR CARE seeks to support families during the most stressful years of psychiatric care through small grants of $250-$5,000 each, tiered or scaled depending on need, and families can apply for them through our website.


What does $125K purchase for PARENTS FOR CARE?

·$100K will fund family grants for up to 200 families!

·$19K will fund a part-time salary for fiscal years July 2014 through June 2015 for a mental health advocate to administer the grants

·$4K will fund printed promotional materials and items for parents, like notebooks, toiletries or educational materials

·$2K will fund social media and advertising to administer the grants.

** The first person to donate $500 at Gold Level receives a brand New Coach Purse! All other Gold Level donations receive their choice of either fabulous memior: Elyn Saks' "The Center Cannot Hold," or Kay Redfield Jamison's "Unquiet Mind," A Personal Thank You, and Your Name on Our Donation Wall!!

** Donate 100$ and Get a Warm, Personal Thank You Letter and Your Name on Our Donation Wall. 

** No Cash Handy? Donate Hotel Points! The first person to donate 100,000 Marriott or Hilton points (an approx. 5 night stay) receives a brand New Coach Purse!

** For a donation in any amount, you'll receive a warm letter of thanks from the family and organization, and have a chance to win a Coach Purse, via our Facebook Page.

** A donation of even $10 buys a Notebook for a parent to document care instructions, directions, or questions he or she may have.

If you’re ready to learn more, here’s a great example of the financial struggle faced by virtually all families of severely mentally ill children:
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Another wonderful thank you letter from Omaha, Nebraska! Thank you so much for donating and allowing us to help this family!! Your small donations did big things!

Dear Laura and Parents for Care Team,
Words do not do justice to how grateful I am for the gran we've received--I wish I could give you a big hug!

I care for my 21 year old daughter Hannah who has bipolar disorder, PTSD, fibromyalgia, mastocytosis, chronic migraines and many stomach issues. I am also in the middle of divorcing an abusive spouse, and Hannah and I are living in a rental. Surviving on my income alone has been extremely rough. I take out the max in Payflex per year to cover Hannah's doctor visits and medications but it was depleted by June so it is all out of pocket until the end of the year. We have applied for disability and were turned down but we are appealing. I have been visiting food pantries and doing everything I can to keep our heads above water but not making ends meet. I contemplated taking a part time job in addition to my full time job but then I wouldn't be home to care for Hannah.

This grant will pay for a month's rent which will help me to pay for medications and doctor visit copays for the rest of the year! The relief I feel is tremendous and I am forever grateful to you all and may you and your donors be blessed in all that you do!

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Dear Laura and Parents for Care,
I want you to know how very, very grateful my daughter and I are for your generous grant to help with our rent and utilities. I have been caring for my daughter alone since 1999--she has several debilitating mental health issues that have taken all my retirement funds, all my savings, my house, and exhausted my health. Her doctors say she will have more severe symptoms as she ages, and that her many medicines will shorten her life. I am so financially and emotionally drained from being her only caregiver, that your grant has given me hope and joy again that I will be able to manage things better in the near future, and, that I am able to now ask for and receive help--I used to try to be independent and do it all alone. The isolation was horrible. I can't wait to meet everyone of you in the near future at a meeting as my health improves. I was so glad I read your article in a national women's magazine, but also that you are local to us, nearby. I wasn't sleeping, My daughter has had her worst year of symptoms these past six months; it was getting scary--the delusions, hallucinations, paranoia. Several times I feared for her life and my own. We are both in counseling because she has had so many doctors, psychiatrists, counselors, hospitalizations, and medicine changes. I hope she can keep the job she just found and have her own apartment (with the help of her dad, my ex, who is very hostile towards me), but her pattern is to work awhile, several months, and then break down from the stress again.

I can't think of a more helpful organization than yours. I've been using food pantries at churches, social services, and other agencies to try to patch things together. Your grant will insure we can stay in our own apartment for the month of September and give me much-needed rest, since I have been sleepless over our rent coming up soon. You are angels to help parents this way. Please tell all your donors how very much their their funding has impacted my family so we can prepare for the autumn and winter months and cope with her incurable set of illnesses and symptoms that take all our courage and strength to manage. Shannon bravely graduated college with top honors (she has a "Beautiful Mind"), but emotionally, her illness challenges her take on reality every day.

If I can ever do anything to repay your kindness, please don't hesitate and I'll do the best I can. I truly love all of you for helping me more than even my family is able.

Blessings and blissings; I hope your organization goes on forever! Susan
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Thanks to your generous donations, we were able to send 750$$ to a family and prevent an eviction! Thank you!!

Here is the family's thank you letter:
Dear Laura:
I am sending a sincere thank you for the help you have given my family. My 16 year old son was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder over a year ago. I had to leave a full time salaried position in order to help take care of his medical and educational needs. Needless to say, we have been struggling financially. I am so grateful for the help you have provided! The advocacy you provide is a God sent! It helped to stop an eviction of our family, which means the world to us! God bless you! -Hope and family

Thank you again, Laura! ~Hope
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We Did It!! Thanks to your generosity, we raised all the necessary funds to help a lady who needs to travel to Alaska to take care of her son, and live with him while he stabilizes. With your generosity, we raised all the money for her trip and expenses in 24 hours!!

Here is her thank you note to all of you!! Thanks so much for caring about these families!

Dear Laura
I have no words to express how much the kindness and generosity each and every one of you have shown means to me!
If it wasn't for the help of so many I would not be able to have the chance to try and help my son in Alaska. The length of time I will be there is unknown...
He will be going through a medication change, and I am having to clean up the many the messes and obstacles he has created! I am hoping to gain Guardianship instead of having only Power of Attorney!
I know some of what is going on and yet I am sure there is much more that I will encounter while I am there. All that said, I know each of you have burdens, sadness and tragedies in your lives as well, which makes your kindness so much sweeter! If My son Erik had the capabilities to Thank You I know he would...
To the women who started this donation process I will forever be thankful... I feel so blessed to have been guided to this group, that encompasses so many who have suffered the same or so much more than I have... I try to hang on to the saying "What doesn't Break us Makes us stronger".

My Prayers and Thanks to all of you who struggle to manage your kids every day! My hope is there will someday be cures for these insidious Brain Diseases!


Robin and Erik Duffey
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$29,885 of $125,000 goal

Raised by 345 people in 57 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created June 23, 2014
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