Medford mother releases mental illness parenting book

Andrea Berryman Childreth's book titled "On the Edge" released in February 2019. (Jennevieve Fong / News 10)

A Medford mother released a book about her family's experience raising a daughter with a mental illness. Author Andrea Berryman Childreth has been navigating through the mental health system for years, while parenting her daughter Chloe.

Berryman Childreth said she has been writing "On The Edge" for the last four years to provide others a practical guide to parenting a child with mental illness.

"It was really difficult pretty much from the time that she was four on," Berryman Childreth said. "She just had a lot of like rages and communication issues and we didn't know what was going on."

She said Chloe was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ADHD and then later on a neurological disorder.

"We were in crisis, most of the time," Berryman Childreth said. "It was just one day after another that you're living and going through into the school system there isn't actually a lot of support for mental health, unfortunately."

Occasionally, Berryman Childreth would use networking and her blog to help other parents find resources for mental health issues.

"Just recently worked for the mom and she was just like, 'Oh my gosh, how do you know all this?' There's so much information you can't even find anywhere," Berryman Childreth said.

Her work with other parents led her to start writing a book about her family's journey to serve as a guide for other parents.

"It's really about helping people and helping the families, because you just feel so alone during the process and there's no one to really give you guidance," Berryman Childreth said.

Berryman Childreth said she wants readers to learn how to better communicate with those struggling with mental health.

"The most interesting thing about kids who have mental illness or have behavioral problems is that they're very misunderstood," Berryman Childreth said. "No kid wants to behave badly. They do as well as they can with the tools that they have."

"On The Edge" was released last month. Berryman Childreth said she also wants to use it as a platform to speak to community leaders and lawmakers about the stigma surrounding mental health.

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