“I am Adam Lanza’s Mother” blogger
Liza Long is a writer and educator in Boise, Idaho. Long writes for regional publications including Boise State’s online journal of popular scholarship, The Blue Review, which published her essay about the challenges of parenting a child with mental illness under the title, “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother.”
As student services consultant at an Allied Health career college, Long is passionate about helping students with challenging life circumstances to change their lives through education. She was previously a general education department chair and enjoys teaching everything from English composition to art history to student success workshops. Long is a founding member of Teach Idaho, a former charter school board member, and current parent member of the Idaho Region IV Children’s Mental Health Board.
In addition to her education work, she designed and edited the 2012 Ippy Bronze winner Little White Dress: Women Explore the Myth and Meaning of Wedding Dresses and co-wrote Business Professionalism with her former faculty advisor Bruce Strom. She is currently working on a book about children’s mental health for Hudson Street Press.
Long earned her bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and her master’s from UCLA, both in classics. She is the mother of four exceptional children, one of whom has mental illness.
Time to talk: A parent’s perspective on children’s mental illness
On December 14, 2012, the day Adam Lanza killed his mother, then walked into a school in Newtown, Connecticut and shot 20 first graders and 6 brave educators, I shared my struggles as a parent of a child with mental illness on my anonymous blog, the Anarchist Soccer Mom. The post went viral, and it caused quite a bit of controversy. In that post, I wrote, “It’s time to talk about mental illness.” Why? One in five children has a serious and debilitating mental disorder.
More than 4600 children and young people die each year from completing suicide. And yet across America, parents are struggling to find solutions for their hurting children. Too often, the only solution is jail: between 50 and 75 percent of children in juvenile detention have mental illness, often untreated, at a tremendous cost to taxpayers and society. Parents feel isolated, alone, and afraid. Pervasive stigma prevents us from even talking about our needs. One mother told me, “I know this sounds terrible, but I wish my daughter had cancer instead of a mental disorder. At least then I could talk about it.” It’s time to talk.