About BMPN

Support and Resources For You and Your Child

The Balanced Mind Parent Network is a community where you'll find resources, connection and hope for the road ahead.

The Balanced Mind Parent Network was born when it became apparent that parents of children with mood disorders needed their own community for support and guidance.
Back in the 1990s, parents from around the country reached out through the fledgling Internet, hoping to find answers to their children's troubling behaviors. They formed a virtual kitchen table community, where all were welcome and where resources and understanding were shared.

Balanced Mind co-founder Ruth Field's first message online, to anyone who might respond, was just like many sent today: "My son has just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Is there anyone out there who understands?" Responses poured in from around the country, and Ruth recalls, "The sense of isolation I felt instantly lifted."

The Balanced Mind became a beacon in the storm offering answers, support and connection to families raising children with mood disorders, including depression and bipolar disorder. Parents struggling alone can link into a network of allies, accessible anywhere, anytime. Those seeking answers can find reliable information on treatment, school accommodations, cutting-edge scientific research and more through our online support communities and Family Helpline.

In January 2014, The Balanced Mind's family-focused programming became a part of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) program services and resources to improve the mental health of, and facilitate wellness for, individuals living with mood disorders from childhood throughout adulthood. Under a single organization, DBSA has the potential to provide consistent support to families and their children as they grow into adults living in mental health and wellness.

Our Team

The Balanced Mind Parent Network is made up of a dedicated group of supportive, knowledgeable, and inspiring parent volunteers, led by DBSA Parent Volunteer Coordinator, Julia Small. This team and hundreds of fellow BMPN members provide support and guidance from the perspective of parents and guardians of children living with mood disorders.

Staff Leader

Julia Small

DBSA Parent Volunteer Coordinator

Julia brings many years of experience with The Balanced Mind to her job as the DBSA Parent Volunteer Coordinator.  She began volunteering with The Balanced Mind in 2007, first as a moderator of several online support networks and then as co-leader of the Family Helpline.  She also served as a Balanced Mind board member for two years.  Julia and her husband have three teen and young adult children and live in Maryland.

Julia works closely with DBSA staff to bring you the best resources available for helping your child with a mood disorder reach wellness and thrive, from childhood throughout adulthood.   

Volunteer Leaders

Karen Cruise

BMPN Family Helpline Leader

Karen retired from software development to focus on caring for her daughter. She has been a volunteer with The Balanced Mind for many years, focusing on the Family Helpline and other areas as needed. Karen is the mother of two young adult daughters and lives in Massachusetts.

Kathy Karle

BMPN Support Network Coordinator

Kathy Karle is the divorced mother of two sons. Her older son is a veteran of the war in Iraq who has battled PTSD and other health issues since his return.  He is a college graduate, married and the father of Kathy’s first grandson! Kathy’s younger son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in fifth grade and struggled with medication compliance, substance abuse and legal difficulties as a teen. He was recently released from a three-year prison sentence and is getting back on his feet. Kathy has volunteered for The Balanced Mind for seven years.  

Janice Cox

BMPN Support Network Coordinator

Janice is a stay-at-home mother of three children who is also the chair of her local school system's Special Education Parent's Advisory Council. Her youngest son has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and autism. She has been a member of The Balanced Mind's online support networks since 2008 and a volunteer since 2010.