Having the courage to seek help for your child with a mental illness can be an emotionally distressing experience. As parents, we want to protect our children and we may fear that friends and family will be non-supportive, judgemental and even hostile. Mental illness and addictions affects all of us in some way or another and is nothing to be ashamed of. Acknowledge your feelings about the situation and know that you are not alone. Your decision to seek help shows the love and concern that you have for your child.
All behaviors have meaning. If you observe behaviors that are not common for your child it can be a sign that something is not right. Getting professional help for your child will increase the likelihood that they will recover and grow into healthy young adults. There are many factors that can lead to a mental illness and having a child with a mental illness does not mean that you are doing anything wrong as a parent. Knowledge is power; educate yourself about your child’s illness so that you have a better understanding and can help others to understand.
Let close family and friends know what’s happening and how they can help. Be open to questions about your child’s mental illness. Many parents isolate themselves because they are embarrassed. You might be surprised how many people you know who are silently struggling with a mental illness in their family. Having the courage to reach out to others and speak up about mental illness will help to end the stigma.
Canadian Psychiatric Association - Finding a Psychiatrist in your area
If you want to read more, here is a great FACT SHEET. It is from Here To Help, the website of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information. Click on Here To Help to read more.