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Explains difficulties you may face as a parent with a mental health problem, support available and suggestions on how to help yourself and your children.
Many parents who have a mental health problem worry about how this might affect their children. This section suggests a few things that you can try to help reduce any impact that your mental health problem may have on your children.
"It was extremely hard for me to admit to my boys that I wasn't OK. But I saw it as vital for their own future mental health to know that this was alright and they could ask for help whenever they needed it."
Talking to your child honestly about your mental health can reduce any fear or confusion they may be feeling, and help them understand your actions and behaviour. The following list suggests things to consider that will help make the conversations a little easier.
It is a good idea to keep track of your child’s wellbeing, to make sure that they are OK and that their own mental health is not being adversely affected. If you keep an eye on how they are, you will be able to notice if they are having difficulties and deal with any issues quickly.
"Parenting with a mental health problem is about using the skills and practices all parents can use. The arrangements I make for my children’s care should I need to go into psychiatric hospital are no different to those I would make for a stay in general hospital."
If your child has responsibilities around the home, this might mean they are classified as a young carer. These could include looking after the household, shopping or money, or helping you with your basic needs such as washing, dressing or taking medication. Try to keep track of how much they are doing and make sure this isn’t having a negative impact on them.
Helping your child to have the different things they need in order to be happy and healthy is a satisfying part of being a parent.
If you are concerned that your child’s caring responsibilities are having a negative impact on them, there are lots of organisations that may be able to offer advice and support. See our page on support available, including social care, for more information.
"Most importantly love yourself. You are your child’s role model. They know if you don’t look after yourself and they will do the same."
This information was published in April 2019. We will revise it in 2022.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.