Parenting, even in the best of health, can be a challenging task. It is no surprise then that parents who experience poor health face additional stresses in meeting their children’s needs.
Many parents who experience poor mental health cope well and provide positive parenting which supports and nurtures dependent children, and likewise, not all children of parents with a mental illness will experience difficulties. Whilst this is a guiding principle, practitioners should be aware that, for a range of complex reasons, children who live with the impact of parental mental illness are two to three times more likely than their peers to develop mental health issues themselves. Reducing this figure is within reach with evidence indicating that the right support can reduce the development of mental health issues in these children by 40%.
Whether working in adults’ or children’s services, schools, mental health teams or social care, there is something that you can do to improve the well-being of parents who experience mental illness, their children and the whole family.
‘It was very helpful for the family as a whole to take on board that it is OK to talk about mum’s mental health issues and how these are understood by a young person’
Adult mental health care coordinator