Parental mental illness: the impact on children

Some children withdraw into themselves, become anxious and find it hard to concentrate on their school work. They may find it very difficult to talk about their parent’s illness or their problems especially when they have had no explanation of their illness. This may stop them from getting help.

Children are often ashamed of their parent’s illness and worry about becoming ill themselves. They can be preoccupied with fears of ‘catching’ the illness and some children can show signs of a similar illness or severe emotional problems.

They can have physical health problems and struggle with school and their education, especially when they live with parents in poverty, poor housing or have an unstable life.

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