Parental mental health problems

The term ‘parental mental health problems’ means that a parent or carer has a diagnosable mental health condition. This can include:

  • depression
  • anxiety disorders
  • schizophrenia
  • bipolar disorder
  • personality disorders.

Living in a household where parents or carers have mental health problems does not mean that a child will experience abuse or even be affected negatively in any way.

The vast majority of parents with a mental health problem are able to give their children safe and loving care.

Sometimes parental mental health problems occur alongside other stressful life experiences, such as:

  • divorce or separation
  • unemployment
  • financial hardship
  • poor housing
  • discrimination
  • a lack of social support.

These issues may be a consequence of their illness, or may cause or make their condition worse. Together, these problems can make it very hard for parents to provide their children with the care that they need.

All types of mental health problem can vary in severity and will impact differently on people’s day to day lives.

This is dependent on the individual, their circumstances and the support they receive.

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