What parents say...
In our research, these are some of the things that parents and carers have told us that they have struggled with:
• Getting the balance right between providing support and respecting the autonomy of emerging adults
• Uncertainty about the child’s capacity to make decisions
• Trying to support the needs of the whole family
• Not feeling sure about the best way of supporting their young person
Getting support for yourself
Supporting a young person with mental health problems can be challenging, and finding support for yourself might be one of the best things you can do. This is turn will help you to be able to support your young person.
How does it feel for parents?
Every parent wants the best for their children and when things go wrong it can be hard. Parents have described feeling ‘guilty’, ‘ashamed’, ‘helpless’, ‘excluded’, ‘desperate’. Finding someone to talk to about these feelings can help you to be more able to cope.
Here are some of the ways you could get support for yourself:
Phone a helpline
These national helplines are specifically aimed parents:
Other mental health helplines may also be useful, a list can be found here.
“I found it a great relief hearing other people’s experiences as I had felt so isolated.” Parent
Join an online forum
Parents/carers can take part in online parent forums to share information and to give and receive support from each other
“If they were to empower my mum… then I would feel more empowered too. Because I know that my mum is on it. I know she knows what she’s doing. And I know that we’re not alone because she doesn’t feel alone.” Young person
Join a parent support group
Parents who use parent support groups are typically very positive about this as a source of support, however they are not always easy to find. Groups are often dependant on the enthusiasm and availability of group leaders and areas will differ in terms of what is available.
“Before I went to the group, I was struggling alone and out of my depth. It really helps to spend time with people who understand”
Here are some examples of some parenting support available in different areas
The Project Devon
Parent training South London
Parents Forum Rotherham
Foundations Family Support Grantham and surrounding area
Parents of Traumatised Adopted Teens Organisation UK
If you are in the South West this link can direct you to more parent support services.
Set up a Parent support group
If you can’t find a group locally, then you could try to set one up yourself.
Here are some guides to setting up parent support groups that can be adapted to different contexts:
How to look after yourself
Recognising that you need to take care of yourself when your young person is experiencing mental health problems is an important step. Here are some more tips about how to do this.
Young Minds Parents Survival Guide – looking after yourself