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Hi, i am Kirsten Panachyda. 

When my son Alex was a little guy, sitting in his booster seat, he spotted another family entering the restaurant, with a little guy of their own. “Mama, look! It’s my new friend!” He had never laid eyes on him before.

I don’t know what brought you here. Maybe you know me in person. Maybe you are a struggling parent with a child in mental illness crisis. Maybe it was a happy accident. To all of you, welcome to the room. “Look, God! It’s my new friend!”

I’ve been studying and teaching the Bible for 20 years. I love to lead women’s Bible studies and speak at retreats and conferences. I’m a writer, and have been blessed to win a couple awards. My blog  includes topics of faith, mental health, and parenting kids with mental and emotional challenges. My loves for travel and history also creep in on a regular basis. Sign up below to receive a newsletter and notifications of new blog posts!

I discovered a heart for teens struggling with emotional and mental illness, and most especially for their parents, when my own son’s illness introduced me to a new world. I long to extend compassion and infuse courage into the soul-weary.

This may not be your “weird little club.” (See this blog post) But we all have one: a club we would never have signed up to join, formed of members bound together with their hurt. We all need an infusion of courage. We need to know that God has carried others through. And when God carries us, we get to tell about it.

So let’s share a meal of friendship. Let’s be honest about our struggles. Let’s listen with compassion. Let’s seek hope and be found as hope-givers.