We work alongside children, parents and services in supporting the family unit, helping to reduce the negative impacts of parental mental illness on all family members, especially children. We do this in lots of different ways including assisting family members to better understand and talk about mental illness with each other, building on the strengths the family already has and helping to develop new ways of working as a family where mental illness is present.
This Mental Health Month we encourage you to take the time to consider how you're keeping mentally healthy and how you talk to your children about mental health and emotions. During most of this year, families have been managing the ups and downs of remote schooling and stay-at-home requirements which may have put your mental health and that of your children's under strain.
Mental health has long experienced stigma with many people unsure of how to speak of mental health to others and especially children. Being open about mental health concerns, especially during these trying times, sends the message to children that it's okay not to be okay, you can feel down and it's fine to ask for help and support.
You might see this as an opportunity to teach your children some skills which will benefit them during times of uncertainty. You may be hearing more and more about mental health in the media so this may be timely for you and your family.
If you're not sure about how to talk about mental health in your family we have some suggestions which have been provided by mental health staff:
Remember everyone's doing the best that they can, you included, so if you need a little extra support with parenting, mental health or just to check-in with someone, please pick up the phone, google a resource or visit your GP. Here's some helpful numbers/websites:
South West Healthcare Mental Health Services
1800 808 284
13 22 89
Free phone service for parents and carers of children from birth-18 years old. 8am-midnight seven days a week.
1800 55 18 00
Free phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5-25. Available 24/7.
1300 78 99 78
Free telephone and online counselling service for men with individual, family and relationship concerns. Available 24/7.
Free support for domestic abuse, family violence and sexual assault. Available 24/7.
A great (and free) online resource dedicated to advancing the mental health and emotional wellbeing of Australian infants, children, adolescents and their families.