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Letters   |    
Dis-ease and Disease: In Reply
Jason Schiffman, Ph.D.; Lisa B. Dixon, M.D., M.P.H.
Psychiatric Services 2014; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.650503
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Copyright © 2014 by the American Psychiatric Association

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In Reply: Dr. Combrinck-Graham raises a variety of issues in her letter. As they pertain to our study, she inquired about the diagnoses of the children of our participants and questioned the value of comparing the experiences of parents of younger children with the experiences of parents of older children. We feel it is important for the reader to understand that our study was not a study of the population; we did not compare the general experiences of parents of children to those of adults. Rather, this study assessed the experiences of help-seeking parents enrolled in the Family-to-Family (FTF) program of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. FTF is not a clinical service, does not involve medication, and is not targeted to children. Rather, it is a community-based program for parents and family members who are seeking support. “Mental illness” in our study was defined by the participants—parents who believed that their children had mental health issues. Parents in our study had reached the point of seeking help through FTF, and this study aimed to better understand the distress and difficulties of these parents. Thus the individual diagnoses of the children of the participants is not as relevant as the fact that all of the participants (parents), regardless of the ages of their children, felt that their children were struggling with mental health issues, and they themselves were looking for support through FTF, in most cases because of their concerns.

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