WPFP6: Parent Superpower: Discovering Your Voice with Lisa Lambert


In This Episode

When Lisa Lambert’s son began showing signs of significant mental health needs at age 7, she was catapulted into a world of complexity she had never known. Today, Lisa is the Director of the Parent/Professional Advocacy League. In this conversation, we discuss how her parenting journey transformed her from a young woman with social anxiety to a dedicated advocate for systemic improvement. As Lisa gives us a peek into her own experience, she shares her best advice for other parents whose kids are struggling with mental health. We talk about finding services, facing stigma, and more. She also reveals some of the fascinating findings of her organization’s parent surveys and how she and her team at PPAL are harnessing the lived-experience of parents to change policies and practices that will improve the lives of other families.

About Lisa

Lisa Lambert is the director of the Parent/Professional Advocacy League (“PPAL”), a statewide, family-run, grassroots nonprofit organization based in Boston. Lisa grew up in Massachusetts and attended college there.  After college, she moved to San Diego, where she lived for 11 years before returning to Massachusetts.  While she was in San Diego, her two sons were born.  Her oldest son began showing signs of significant mental health needs by first grade and Lisa became an unabashed advocate, first for her own son and later for families like her own. Her sons are young adults and doing well now and continue to inspire her.

What You’ll Learn

  • How Lisa put her son’s challenges into “buckets” to figure out what was going on and what to do

  • The ways stigma persists and why every parents’ approach to disclosure is different

  • What Lisa grappled with the most when her son was struggling - and how she dealt with it.

  • How Lisa ended up running support groups and what made them effective

  • Why Lisa thinks parents are the best resource for other parents

  • How social media is changing the parent experience

  • How her organization, PPAL, is harnessing parent voices to influence policy and practices in youth mental health services

  • The most common challenges and concerns parents express

  • How parents of kids with mental health issues tend to view psychiatric medication

  • How PPAL surveys are using family voices to make the system better

  • How Lisa manages to take care of herself, even under pressure

Lisa at conference 2.jpg

Resources Mentioned

  • The Parent/Professional Advocacy League (“PPAL”) is a statewide, grassroots family organization in Massachusetts that advocates for improved access to mental health services for children, youth and their families. PPAL’s goals are to support families, nurture parent leaders and work for systems change.

  • The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (“NFFCMH”) is a national family-run organization linking more than 120 chapters and state organizations focused on the issues of children and youth with emotional, behavioral, or mental health needs and their families.




Kendra Wilde