Tackling mental health to help parents

Share Button

Tackling mental health to help parents

Parenting can be as stressful as it is life-affirming, which can put extra pressure on adults already dealing with mental health issues.

With the need to manage work alongside paying bills and rent, the addition of a few kids can make dealing with day-to-day life overwhelming.

But it’s important to remember there’s support and other resources available, making your journey through parenthood less emotionally taxing.

Coping with your mental health issues

Whilst there are some obvious routes to take such as being open about your issues, and relying on support groups with other parents and/or friends, there are other steps you can take.

Whether you suffer from anxiety, depression, or an eating disorder, or PTSD, there’s support out there you can rely on.

Mental health charity Mind, for example, has many excellent free resources on this topic.

Under Parenting with a mental health problem, it lays out many approaches you can take to coping with the demands of parenthood.

For example, it mentions that “no parent is perfect” and that’s it’s okay for you to struggle.

To help you tackle mental health, you can:

  • Encourage your kids to help out with chores around the house.
  • Turn to your partner or other family members for assistance.
  • Set “you” time aside to relax with your hobbies.
  • Follow a healthy diet with regular exercise.
mental health parenting

Do you take ‘mental health days’ home from work, to reconnect with family or to recharge?

Find the right work-life balance

You should also consider your day job and its impact on your life. Do you have a supportive work environment?

Employers need to offer greater flexibility for working parents to help improve wellbeing. You can speak directly to your line manager or manager about your issues as, under the Equality Act 2010 in the UK for example, you do have rights.

As the charity organisation Mind states, you have the right to challenge any perceived discrimination due to your condition. British law can also protect you when you’re applying for a new job.

But you should also expect support whilst at work—many businesses now have employee assistance programmes (EAPs) which you can turn to for assistance while tackling mental health.

Other options include visiting your GP and requesting help for your issues. That can lead to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is a proven way to alleviate some of the strains of mental health issues.

How your children will cope

The NSPCC  has a guide to parental mental health.

Its statistics show that 1 in 6 adults across England have experienced a mental health problem over the course of an average week—so it’s really nothing out of the ordinary.

And that highlights the importance of addressing the ongoing social stigma surrounding mental health issues.

As well as why you should address the subject with your children.

Young minds are adept and compassionate, but it can be difficult to explain how more complex emotions affect human behaviour.

As it reports:

Giving children and young people accurate, age-appropriate information about mental health problems can address any misperceptions or fears they may have. It can also give them the language to help share their views and experiences.” Grove, C., Reupert, A. and Maybery, D.

So have a look around at ways to teach children about common issues. Books, films, and age-appropriate educational materials are a great start.

And they can help your children understand what you’re going through, which in the long-term can alleviate the burden on your family and help you with tackling mental health.

 

Croner, Paul HolcroftPaul Holcroft is Associate Director of Operations at HR, health and safety and reward consultancy Croner. He is also a specialist of employment law and a regular seminar speaker. 

Share Button