It is important that you attend all mental health appointments and that you engage in treatment.
In many parts of the country, mental health services are organised by specialist mental health trusts.
Mental health trusts provide inpatient care, community and rehabilitation services, residential care centres, day clinics, and drop-in centres.
There are currently over 40 mental health trusts in England and Wales.
Community mental health teams (CMHTs) focus on working to help people with complex mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (manic depression).
They aim to provide the day-to-day support that is needed to allow a person to remain living in the community.
Crisis resolution teams (CRTs) treat people with serious mental health conditions who are currently experiencing an acute and severe psychiatric crisis which, without the involvement of the CRT, would require hospitalisation.
Psychotic episodes, or suicide attempts, are examples of acute psychiatric crises.
Due to the nature of their work, CRTs offer a 24 hour service, and cases are often referred to them via accident and emergency (A&E) departments or the police service.
The CRT will aim to treat a person in the least restrictive environment possible, ideally near the person’s home.
This may be in a person’s own home, in a dedicated crisis residential home or hostel, or in a day centre.
CRTs are also responsible for planning after-care once the crisis has passed in order to prevent a further crisis occurring.
Your children will not be taken away
Many parents fear that their children will be taken from them because they are mentally ill and this is just not true.
Local authority social services support families and safeguard children who may be at risk of harm, whether from family members or others.
Levels of support can vary within each local authority but they provide support to families who are in need of additional help and support which is unavailable from schools, GPs, other health services, or community-based services.
Social services will not come in and take your children away because you have visited the GP and have been prescribed antidepressants or because you have been diagnosed with a mental illness.
Social services will only be informed if your children appear to be at risk of harm, but they are there support you, not to take your child away.
If a parent is struggling with mental health problems and feels their child will be better cared from away from them until they are in a better frame of mind, the parent may request that a child be temporarily placed in foster or residential care to provide a planned break or a series of short breaks at a time of particular stress.
Social services are there to help families assess any problems that are affecting the children and signpost them to appropriate community-based support and services.
A family may request family support services from social services at times of stress or for help regarding a particular child or family problem. A teacher or GP can make this request on their behalf.
Having a mental illness does not make you a threat to your children
By engaging in treatment and therapy you are showing that you are in control and you are receiving help for your illness.
There is no point in withholding information or lying or you will not receive the correct treatment or support.
You need to be honest about how you are really feeling and if you need more support then ask for it.
You have the choice to engage in treatment but the decision to consent or not consent to treatment must be made alone, and must not be due to pressure by medical staff, friends or family.
Accept your mental illness and make use of the services available.
There are a variety of treatments available to support you
While some may dislike the thought of taking medication, in some situations it may be the very thing that helps you.
But taking medication is not the only treatment available.
If you have been prescribed medication and not offered any form of talking therapy and you feel this would be beneficial to you, then ask for it.
Talking therapies – can help you work out how to deal with negative thoughts and feelings and make positive changes. They can help people who are feeling distressed by difficult events in their lives as well as people with a mental health problem.
Talking therapies may also be referred to as:
- talking treatments
- psychological therapies or treatments
What kinds of talking therapy are there?
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends certain therapies for certain problems, but other therapies might work for you just as well.
- Cognitive behavioural therapies (CBT)
- Dialectic behaviour therapy (DBT)
- Psychodynamic therapies
- Humanistic therapies
- Other kinds of talking therapy
- Support and information
Whilst 92 per cent of people with diabetes are in receipt of treatment, only 28 per cent of people with mental illness get treatment for their problems.
As a parent you have responsibilities to ensure you engage in treatment that will enable you to parent to the best of your capabilities.
All parents face challenges, but if you are coping with a mental health problem, you may face additional difficulties and this means you will need additional support.
A mental health problem can make it more difficult to cope with the day-to-day challenges of parenting, ensure you have a support system in place.
Let your children’s teacher know that you are facing difficulties at home, let your child to know that they can talk to family members or other trusted adults about how they are feeling.
Social support can help children and young people to cope with their parents’ ill health.
Young carers’ groups can be an important source of support, offering them a chance to meet up with other young carers, talk to people who understand what they are coping with, and enjoy trips and activities that they can’t usually join because of their caring responsibilities.
Even if you don’t want to seek help or get better for yourself, do it for your kids.
Be a great role model and show your children that you are making healthy choices.
Remember that acknowledging that you need help and seeking help are signs of strength, not weakness.
And finally go easy on yourself, no parent is perfect.