How to Manage Mental Ill Health as a Parent

The range of mental health problems suffered by parents and those with carer responsibilities can be truly shocking. Whilst we are more aware than ever before about invisible illnesses and that not all disabilities can be seen, there is still some way to go in terms of recognising mental health difficulties and how problematic they can be.

The statistics of parents who are struggling are concerning but, if you are a parent who has mental ill health, knowing where to turn to for support can be the first step to living a healthier, happier life. Read on for some ways you can manage your health.

Talk to Your GP

So many of us are guilty of ignoring a problem and hoping it goes away on its own. This is doubly true when we aren’t just looking after ourselves but have other people to support and care for. But mental health shouldn’t be treated any differently from other health concerns. If you had a broken leg, you would go to the hospital, have X-rays, possibly a cast, and rest your leg. You would take appropriate care of it. Just because a broken leg is a more obvious ailment than mental ill health doesn’t mean one should take priority over the other. Book an appointment with your GP if you are suffering with anxiety, depression, and general feelings of low mood which are out of the ordinary.

Find Help Yourself

Although it might be one of the last things you want to do, it’s important to seek help if you aren’t feeling your best. There is no shame in helping yourself and you will never regret starting. Addiction, for example, can be a common problem for parents due to the stress and anxiety of their responsibilities. Many parents can also still maintain a high level of functionality, but aren’t living healthily. The NHS will help anyone will addiction problems, but sites such as help4addiction can also be a great resource to get support from. Similarly, if NHS counselling is taking a significantly long time to become available, private counselling or therapy might be a useful option. There are books as well which can give you an understanding of different therapeutic approaches, for example Mind Over Mood.

Make Sure You Have a Support Network

Although talking to your partner, or a friend, might seem like the last thing you want to do, it’s important that you let them know what you’re going through. The other parent will want to help and support you and you will feel less isolated. They might also be having similar struggles and you can assist each other through this difficult time.

Recognise the Signs

If you can prevent a low mood before it comes on, then it may not develop into a full-blown attack of depression, anxiety or anything else. There are some useful resources online which can give you tips on how to prevent a low mood before it comes on.

Remember that you aren’t alone – although ill mental health can feel very isolating, lots of people are going through similar struggles. You aren’t letting anyone down. Look after yourself and then you can be well enough to take care of those around you. 

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.  

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