How to support children living with a parent who has mental health problems
There are some simple things that we can do that could make a large difference to a child when their parent is unwell.
- 1.When a parent is unwell, having a family member of trusted family friend that the child can rely on can really help the child.
- 2.A child can cope better during a parent’s unwell period if….
- a.They are helped to understand what is happening
- b.They are supported to understand that it is not their fault
- 3.Supporting parents to maintain the child’s routines (school and friends/family activities) is helpful
- 4.Making sure the child knows who will look after them if their parent cannot and how they will stay connected with their parent if this happens.
- 5.Having someone reliable that they can talk to.
Don’t take over from the parent!Work with their parent/s about what they want you to say and how they would like you to support their child.
There are some good websites that can support you on your role, click here.
COPMI is an organisation for Children of Parents with a Mental Illness and they have wonderful YouTube videos with young people explaining different topics.
They also have resources by age group for you to use.
Mental Health First Aid has courses for people who support young people and for young people who are supporting other young people.
The major messages for children living with a parent with mental health problems are,
It’s not your fault
It’s not your job to fix it
Remember Mental Health is everyone’s business.