What is Parent Mental Health Day?

Parent Mental Health Day is on the 27 January and is about understanding the importance of mental health as a parent and how this can affect the family. The theme this year is balance, to emphasise the importance of ensuring that you have balance in your life so that you can look after yourself and support your children.

What is a parent carer?

Parent carers provide support for their children, including adult children who could not manage without their help. This might be because they are ill, disabled or have a mental health or substance misuse problems.

You might be helping with household tasks such as cleaning or cooking, administering medication, organising, and transporting someone to medical appointments, providing personal care or providing emotional support.

Am I really a parent carer?

Parent carers are less likely to recognise themselves as a carer, but you are a carer if you care for someone who could not manage without your support and needs more support than other children their age.

Recognising that you are a carer is an important step, because your role as a parent carer may be causing additional practical, emotional, or financial worries all of which you deserve support for.

Being a parent to someone with special educational needs

Looking after your own mental health and wellbeing is an important part of being a parent. Although parenting can have its rewards it can be tiring and stressful. If you are parenting while feeling low or stressed, it can become even harder.

You might worry about being judged or think people will think you are not a good parent if you are finding things difficult. Often children recognise and can pick up on this, so it benefits not just yourself but the whole family if you look after yourself.

Being a carer on top of being a parent can be hard and it’s important to recognise the effects it might have on you and how you react and think about things. You might experience a negative impact on your wellbeing, or you might struggle to come to terms with what the future holds for your child. Maybe you feel guilty for finding it hard to support your child or you feel alone because you don’t relate to other parents and so find it hard to make friends other parents? Perhaps you might feel on your own dealing with the diagnosis. These are all difficult things to come to terms with and through all of this, you are caring for your child as well.

What support is there?

Dorset Parent Carer Council

Dorset Parent Carer Council (DPCC) is run by parents and carers for parents and carers of children and young people ages 0–25 years with Special Educational Needs or Disability (SEND) who live in Dorset. They offer support and signposting for additional help.

Dorset’s Local Offer – Dorset Council

Dorset Council’s Local Offer for children and young people from 0 to 25 years with SEND provides information, advice and support for children and their families.

You can also find information on short breaks for your child.

How can I help my own wellbeing?

  • Make sure you get outside each day, even if this is a short walk or going out into the garden. A change of scenery and fresh air can make all the difference to your own wellbeing.
  • Often when you get busy it might seem hard to keep in contact with people or make new friends but having others to talk to makes us feel connected and understood.
  • Any break is worth it! You might think a five or ten-minute break won’t make much difference, but it does. Taking any time out for yourself every day is worth it, and it’s okay to ask people for help so you can get regular breaks.

Have your say!

Having your say and making a difference for other parent carers can also be something that might be helpful for you.

For example, there is a new survey on parent carer wellbeing. This survey gives you the chance to give your views on the support you need as a parent carer and can also help you reflect on how your role as a parent carer is affecting your wellbeing.

You can also share your story with us and be featured on our website to spread the word about parent carers so others can recognise themselves and get the support they deserve.

If you want more information or support as a parent carer, give us a call on 0800 368 8349 to talk to one of our friendly Carer Advisers.