Parenting is challenging, no matter what state of health you’re in. Having children can be very stressful, but if you have a mental health problem, you may have more concerns or difficulties.
It’s important to remember that many parents with mental health problems can care for their children in a safe and loving way. But sometimes, you might need extra support from family, friends, or healthcare professionals to get you through difficult times.
One in four people in the UK experience mental health problems each year. Which means you probably aren’t the only parent struggling. Aside from your own mental health and wellbeing, you’re a provider, a teacher, a nurse, a chef, a cleaner and so much more. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed when trying to juggle it all.
There’s no shame in needing extra help as a parent.
When you’re unwell, you may:
- Find it difficult to be active with your children, for example, you may have low energy
- Avoid going places due to your anxieties
- Struggle to manage your mood or emotions around your children
You may also worry about stigma or discrimination from other people making assumptions or judgements about mental health.
The average pressures of day-to-day life are heightened as a parent, even more so when you have a mental health problem, so it’s important that you know the right place to go to get help if you need it.
If you are struggling with feelings of depression, excessive worry, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress or obsessions and compulsions, NHS Talking Therapies can help. The service is effective, confidential, and free. Your GP can refer you or refer yourself at nhs.uk/talk.
Useful resources for parents:
- Stem4 charity has created a free booklet about ‘Creating Positive Relationships’ for parents and children for Parent Mental Health Day.
- Family Action and Family Rights Group both offer a range of practical and emotional support for parents
- Family Lives offers online parenting courses and advice videos, among other support for parents
- Home-Start helps families with young children through challenging times, offering home visits from trained volunteers, group support and help getting local services
- Gingerbread offers advice and support for single parents
- Mind gives useful tips on how to talk to a young person about their mental health
- Carers Trust offers advice on how to take care of yourself, even if you’re busy looking after someone else
- Our Perinatal Mental Health service provides a safe, high quality, family friendly, mental health service – including assessment, treatment and care – for women suffering from psychiatric disorders associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
Published: 27 January 2024