As a parent how should I act?

Firstly, I am not a parent and nor do I have any experience of being a parent, thus I can only write this post from my perspective and what my parents and others did for me, that has helped me through my battles with mental illness.

I often get lots of tweets and emails about how people feel they cannot talk to their parents in the fear that they won't understand, they will look down on them, or they will just laugh at it and these stories often sadden me. As a sufferer, it's important to remember that what you're going through is not your fault and if someone is willing to listen and try and understand, then that's great. I know it is hard to talk about your situation, but you may be surprised at how postively your parents may act and if they don't, you could inform them on what you're going through; there are various websites out there that can help you with this.

As a parent, the most important thing you can do is be there for them and be a listening ear. Unfortunatly, even parents don't sometimes have the answers. The worst thing that a parent can do though in my opinion, is to just tell someone to "get over it", to say "it's not real", to just "think positively" and to kind of ignore it. This suggests to them, that mental health shouldn't be talked about and is bad, which of course is not the case. After all, mental illness can kill just like a physical illness, so it's important to take it seriously and not brush it aside.

In terms of getting help, there's a range of services out there, which sometimes can be hard to find. Nevertheless, both the public and private sector have options to help. All your child wants is support, so it's always nice to know that a parent will support them through finding therapy, going to the doctors and taking medication, if that may be the case.

Mental health is also a very sensitive subject, and hence why I think it's important for my mental health to only be discussed with those I trust and not told to others which may make the situation worse, and to make me feel uncomfortable.

Again, I am not a parent, but this has been the most beneficial for me. Let them know that you can talk to them, even if you may feel awkward about it. Discussing what kind of support each person wants whilst going through these mental health issues, is also important. "What makes the person feel safe?" "What makes them feel comfortable?" As I'm sure many sufferers can relate, we don't want to be smothered with mental health talk all of the time! But, battling mental illness is often too difficult to cope with on your own and this why a support network is beneficial. 

I know it's hard for both sides, but trying your best to talk is a great step in the road to recovery. You can do this!

I'll leave you with a video, which may help begin your conversation on mental health: http://t.co/WdnA9PoF2U

Amy xx