Parenting and mental health

pdf_iconClick here to read Mind’s leaflet on How to cope as a parent with a mental health problem (please note this leaflet was produced by Mind in the UK).

Many parents worry about coping with parenting if they have a mental health problem, this is only natural! However, it is possible to care for and support your children in a positive way with a mental health problem, with the right support and resources.

Parenting is not a “piece of cake” all parents face challenges, but if you are coping with a mental health problem, you may face additional difficulties. For example:

  • A mental health problem can make it more difficult to cope with the day-to-day challenges of parenting – for example, anxiety may make you more easily worried, or depression may mean that you have low energy.
  • You may worry about the impact your mental health problem will have on your child – for example, they may experience stress or mental health problems themselves.
  • You or your child may have difficulties because of other people’s negative ideas about mental health problems – for example, people may judge your parenting abilities because you have a mental health problem, or your child may be bullied or teased.
  • If your child has to take on responsibilities around the home to help you, such as preparing food or getting younger siblings ready for school, this may have an impact on their school work or the amount of free time they have to play or see their friends.
  • You may find it hard to seek help, because you are worried that people may see you as a less capable parent, and put pressure on yourself to cope for longer than you are able.
  • There may be times where you become unwell and can’t carry out your usual parenting responsibilities, or have to go into hospital. This can cause practical issues, and cause stress and worry for you and your family.

It can be easy to blame any difficulties you have as a parent on your mental health problems, or try to over-compensate by becoming a ‘perfect parent’. However, it’s important to remember that all parents have difficult times and there is no such thing as being perfect. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself or give yourself too much of a hard time.




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