Mental health can affect anyone, no matter what their circumstances are. Today we want to take a look at mental health in parents, how this can impact of both the individual as well as their children and the help that may be available to them.
Mental health can vary in severity, therefore, no two cases will be the same. Some people may require ongoing support and regular treatment, whereas others may experience long periods of being okay and only need help and support from time to time.
It is important to remember that certain situations and life stressors may impact on the severity of the individuals mental health at any one time:
New job or loss of employment
Divorce / Separation
And many other factors.
Approximately 68% of women and 57% of men with mental health problems are parents.
Many parents with mental health conditions are able to give their children safe, loving and caring homes without their children being affected in a negative way.
Parental mental health can affect children differently depending on the severity and the type of the condition as well as individual factors such as the child’s age, their stage in development, their personality and their attachment type with said parent.
If a parent experiences poor mental health during pregnancy or during the early stages of their baby’s life, this can have an impact on their bond with their child. As a result, this can impact on the child’s intellectual, emotional, social and psychological development.
When a parent is unwell, whether it be mentally or physically, they may find it hard to:
– Cope with daily challenges of parenting
– Manage their mood and emotions around their child
– Manage their child’s behaviours
– Setting boundaries with their children
– Caring for their children both physically and emotionally
The most common mental health conditions that are experienced during pregnancy and after birth are anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Early intervention is key when it comes to poor mental health.
Talking is often a big help and can lead to further help and support where needed, as it helps others to pin point that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Keep an eye on your friends and family – check in with them regularly and listen to them when they choose to open up to you.
This works both ways! Trust the people you love, if you are struggling, tell someone, there is no shame in needing a little help here and there.
Make educational settings aware if there are problems at home, either with mental health concerns or other factors which may directly impact on your child – This allows them to offer extra support for your child when they are in school; or helps them to detect any changes in the child’s behaviour which may be linked to such concerns. Additionally, they may be able to point you in the direction of external support and resources.
If you are really struggling, please speak with a GP and reach out some some mental health charities. Mental health is just as important as physical health and should be treated as such.
10% of all fathers, worldwide, experience postnatal depression.
Please remember, that men can struggle with their mental health as well as women. They may need additional help and support, although they may not be as eager to open up and talk about it, so it is important to check in on them too!
– NSPCC: Parental Mental Health Problems
– MentalHealth.Org: Parenting and Mental Health
– Young Minds: Parental Mental Illness
– Mind: Parenting With a Mental Illness