As parents, we want the best of everything for our children. Today’s parents juggle a lot to care for family; most also work outside the home. The challenge is a difficult one for the strongest of parents. So what happens when a parent is struggling with a mental health issue?
In a perfect world, the parent would seek help immediately, and the family would work together to get through it all. The problem is we do not live in a perfect world. Many families have a single parent, which adds twice the responsibility and stress. As a result, sometimes, the parent incurs depressive or other mental health disorders.
Questions arise about how the children would adapt to a parent while dealing with their conditions. Would the children’s overall care suffer? This article will discuss parents’ concerns with mental health issues and offer information about resources to help parents with mental health concerns cope while raising their kids.
Parents and Mental Health
Research reveals that 17 to 28% of families worldwide include a parent with mental health symptoms. Therefore, parents with mental health disorders must concurrently deal with their mental health issues while parenting.
Other challenges parents face may be coping with diagnosis and treatments and the stigmatization that goes along with it. There may also be interpersonal problems and a reduction in support from friends. Combine the previous demands, and the odds seem insurmountable against parental success.
Fortunately, programs exist to treat mental health disorders and their symptoms. Programs also exist to protect children from substandard parental care due to mental health issues. Again, the programs would work for parents and children in a perfect world, and all would be well. However, the best-laid plans sometimes go awry.
The many and varied mental health issues that anyone can have are not treated equally. Symptoms of various mental health disorders also do not always present the same way. Reactions to the disorders also vary and may lack consistency of occurrence. In other words, things can go wrong for the parents and their children.
How does a parent wade through and comprehend all the demands on their time and resources, and how can they get help? The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a wealth of information for families and mental health support, along with links to other helpful sites.
How Do Parents Cope?
The most important thing to remember is that you do not have to go through parenting and mental health concerns alone. There is help out there. However, if you are overwhelmed, have a trusted friend or loved one do the footwork to seek the help you need. It may surprise you to discover many others in the same situation as you and your children.
You can also develop a network of peers and friends to call upon when you need support or someone to listen. Connect with others regularly and learn everything you can about your mental health issue, its symptoms, and ways to manage it. Your treatment and recovery are essential, and your kids’ care and well-being are crucial.
Depression and Related Symptoms
Some people do not realize that depression is a mental health issue. However, ignoring symptoms of depression can lead to major depressive disorder, antisocial behaviors, and other mental health concerns.
Ignoring the escalation of mental health disorders can lead to child maltreatment and a high potential for child abuse and neglect. But, of course, none of these things need to happen if a parent stays aware of changes in their emotions and reactions and seeks help immediately.
Some symptoms of depression are listed below:
- Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy
- Feeling irritated or frustrated
- Difficulting falling asleep
- Reduced or increased appetite
- Feeling your life has no value
- Difficulty concentrating
- Thoughts of suicide
Why Treatment Matters
Seeking treatment matters because your children’s well-being matters, and so does yours. Studies show that children of parents with mental health issues are more likely to develop mental health and behavioral disorders if the parent is not actively in treatment or recovery. Denial of symptoms or delaying professional help due to being too busy (or other reasons) can negatively impact the children, even into adulthood.
Parents, Recovery, and Self-Care
Parenting can be difficult on a good day. However, we love our kids more than ourselves, and we face any challenges to protect and care for them. Caring for our children means being present in our children’s lives. To do that, we must also care for ourselves and our physical and mental health. Some mental health issues may be temporary, and others may need attention for an extended period. All of them, however, can be managed with help, and the results will be well worth the effort.
At SoCal Mental Health, we believe that mental health involves the whole family. We understand that it takes courage and diligence to learn and manage symptoms related to mental health disorders. Our programs are designed to help clients manage recovery using planned and defined therapies to aid treatment and recovery. Using evidence-based treatment approaches, we can help you learn the tools needed to manage your mental health symptoms to become the best version of yourself. By doing this, you can also become the parent you want to be. SoCal Mental Health is here to help you and your entire family. Call us today at (949) 502-2041 to learn more about our program.