Big Changes at CABF

The Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation (CABF) launched its pioneering website, www.bpkids.org, in 1999 when childhood bipolar illness awareness was in its infancy. Since then, scientific research from the past decade has fundamentally changed the understanding of bipolar disorder in children.

Our own research reveals that many children experience a number of “working labels” and there are often co-morbid conditions that cloud the picture. This makes a single condition name for the organization - like “bipolar” – limiting for families who seek support and answers for their children.   

Due to these factors, CABF’s board of directors voted to expand our mission from a single condition to include all mood disorders: bipolar disorder, depression and a proposed new DSM-V diagnosis for children which will attempt to capture children who are currently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but do not meet full criteria.

It became apparent that we needed an updated CABF brand to reflect these changes without losing focus on our current membership. We conducted a survey of CABF families with over 800 responses, and held four focus groups in New York and Chicago. There was strong consensus around the labels, “balance” “mind” and  “resource or foundation.” Families did not want a medical sounding name, which they found to be stigmatizing. They also wanted to know that “we are you” and that people who walk in their shoes run the organization.

Therefore, I am pleased to announce that CABF will become:

The Balanced Mind Parent Network logo

The Balanced Mind Parent Network envisions a world where children living with mood disorders thrive because their families have the resources, community and support they need. Please watch for our communications from The Balanced Mind Parent Network and set your spam filter to allow emails from thebalancedmind.org.

The Balanced Mind Parent Network…Bringing Hope Home.

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When I first suspected my son might carry the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, in 1999, I typed childhood bipolar into the search bar and lo and behold, I found CABF-I honestly do believe that you will be taking away the opportunity for healing from other parents who are sitting on that fence trying to figure out what the next steps for their child should be. Without CABF, I do not believe my family would have survived to be who we are today. As for the "less stigmatizing" aspect of the new name, I think it is MORE stigmatizing for our families-recovery can and does happen for our kids-however, true balance and a "cure" does not. My son who is multiply diagnosed is still a person with bipolar disorder, and always will be-having the ability to get information that addresses his needs will now become more difficult-we weren't looking for balance when he was at his most ill, we were looking for information on childhood bipolar disorder.

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Though I believe a lot of good points have been brought up about the specific new name, I'm still glad they changed the name and made it more broad. The reason is, in the beginning of my son's illness I heard of CABF but didn't come here because my son didn't have a bipolar disorder diagnosis (3 years later, he now has it as a working diagnosis). I didn't think this website was for my family because it had the word "bipolar" in the title. As my son became more ill, I became desperate and joined the site. Since then, CABF has been a life saver for our family and I realize now that I belonged here with this community from the first day, with or without the diagnosis of bipolar.

I am also aware that there are doctors that will use the "new DSM label" instead of "bipolar disorder" in the future for all children, our old psychiatrist declared this. So if this becomes the next trend, there will be a lot more families looking for support without the official "bipolar" diagnosis. I think having a new name that’s more broad, will give these families an opportunity to join this excellent online community.

--

Mom of 3 boys, the oldest (10 years) suffering with a "Mood Disorder". Our current psychiatrist believes he suffers from Bipolar 1 Disorder, but he’s too young to make the official diagnosis. He’s currently taking Tenex, Trileptal, Lithium and Melatonin to help.

Check out my blog at http://mysonhas2brains.blogspot.com/

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Well, I wasn't going to comment, because I know you guys put a lot of hard work into this new name and look change... but every day I find myself feeling more and more uncomfortable with it... so I have to say - I do not support the new name or direction. I agree with the above posts. A balanced mind is just too - vague- new age, and now it's one more name I have to go through when I explain to people what an AWESOME website this is! The support and love I have gotten here are BEYOND WORDS. I never even used CABF half the time - just BP KIDS. And I totally agree that people will likely have a harder time landing here when searching for answers. You've done the research though --- and are following through-- what do you see so far? I also was really bummed that you went back and changed the Pepsi award to the "Balanced Mind won..." not CABF--- I supported CABF -- WE won that award... somehow changing that history takes away my pride... as if someone rewrote a history book... if I go tell someone to log onto The Balanced Mind Foundation -- I have to stop and explain, and I can see myself already going "uh, yeah, Balanced Mind - it's for kids with BP, and this and that and the other and well, uh...
Well, I love you all, no matter. Just really felt the rug pulled out from under me when I saw the name and logo change...

Heather (41) Cymbalta; Ambien, Propranalol
DS (10) BP, ADD, SPD, ANXIETY: 1800 mg Trileptal; therapeutic level of Lithium; Clonidine for sleep; DH (40); DD (8); DS (4); Dog

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I also agree with the comment that somehow we should be aspiring to "balanced mind." Most of our children will NEVER have a balanced mind since they are mentally ill, not psychologically ill. It makes one feel that we should all aspire to be able to have a balanced mind. I agree that it is stigmatizing. Sorry.

--

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I've talked about CABF to hundreds of people since joining over four years ago, and the name was self-explanatory--focused on a very real, medical problem. Everyone has a different perspective, but I refuse to equate my son's brain disease with an "unbalanced mind." The new name encourages the stigmatizing view that the illness is psychological and "all in your mind." No amount of therapy, yoga or love will cure cancer...or bipolar.

Amanda

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I support of the name change!

My son who is now 12 has been struggling with SOME symptoms of bi-polar since as long has we can remember. Severe difficulty falling asleep, the rages, the extreme irritability. BUT, he has never displayed the mania other kids with this diagnosis experience. And because of this, many therapists and psychiatrists missed the mood disorder diagnosis and it took us much longer to get on the right track medicine wise.

He shares so many characteristics and symptoms with children who have been diagnosed as bi-polar and the information from this organization has been hugely helpful to us.

betsy

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I'm very disappointed that CABF felt they had to rebrand themselves in this New Age manner. My 2 sons and I don't have "balanced" minds and never will. We all strive to live the best lives we can but we don't aim to be normal. I cherish hearing about the other member's struggles in the support group and take great comfort in finding other lives that are not balanced, like mine. I would never go to a website with this sort of silly name because I would assume it promoted crystals or the like.

--

Sophie, 56, lithium, Lamictal, Klonopin for sleep
ds, 22, lithium, Lamictal, Mirapex
ds, 17, lithium, Lamictal, Risperdal
dh, 58, separated, vicious temper but no diagnosis

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I hate to say it, but I agree with Ethan's Mom. We are parents of bipolar children. The CABF name was self-explanatory and well recognized. We initially heard about it through word-of-mouth.

I hope somebody is trending new and total hits and registrations at the web site. I also hope the committee is open to reviewing the data and making adjustments as needed. It's not like we are greatly expanding the organization and servicies, where CABF could remain a subsidiary.
--
Brian

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I am not as thrilled about the name change or the focus. There are numerous other sites dedicated to the pediatric mood disorders but not exclusively bipolar. I am disappointed that CABF felt it needed to expand to encompass other disorders. There is still minimal information about pediatric bipolar available and now it will be further diluted and harder to find with this name and focus change. I am truly disappointed.

--

EthansProudMom

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The following comment was received by email:

Hailey said:
Congratulations Susan - on the change of name from CABF to The Balanced Mind Foundation!!

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Shira Raider
CABF Online Communications Manager

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The following comment was received by email:

Julie J. said:
Congrats Susan! I am excited about the change. Please send me literature when you get it so I can continue to spread the word.

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Shira Raider
CABF Online Communications Manager

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The following comment was received by email:

Cinda J. said:
LOVE it!!! Can't wait!!!! Good, good work!

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Shira Raider
CABF Online Communications Manager

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The following comment was received by email:

Shayna E. said:

That's HUGE, Susan - and great news! Seems like a very smart move.

Congrats and all our best to everyone there.

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Shira Raider
CABF Online Communications Manager

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The following comment was received by email:

Ellen L. said:

This is great Susan! Congratulations…I love the new name…I think it’s great!

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Shira Raider
CABF Online Communications Manager

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The following comment was received by email:

Laura R. said:

Congratulations!! I love the new name. I know you and your organization worked very hard on this.
Really like the slightly new age feel of it,

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Shira Raider
CABF Online Communications Manager

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The following comment was received by email:

Karen P. said:

So very exciting, Susan! You have reshaped the dialogue around mental illness in children with this thought-provoking change. Congratulations! The logo is beautiful and spot on.

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Shira Raider
CABF Online Communications Manager

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The following comment was received by email:

Ginny N. said:

Congratulations, Susan! The new logo looks fantastic, and I love the emphasis on thriving with balance, no matter what your limitations and TALENTS are. We are all trying to do the best with whatever God gave us.....CABF's new direction looks terrific.

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Shira Raider
CABF Online Communications Manager

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Comment received by email:

Martine M. said:
Great progress! I love the new name, look and feel.

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Shira Raider
CABF Online Communications Manager

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My daughter, a patient of Dr. Biederman was dx'd at age 9. I joined bpkids in 1999. I do not like the name change. As an artist who also studied illustration , I think the previous name was memorable, and this one is very sweet and nice, but doesn't ring true to me. I agree with many other parents. I also wish you had left the chat rooms open to just join and type
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Heidi Schlossberg

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