The Project is effective in improving our young people’s ability to manage their mental health partly because we also offer support to their families. We work with parents/carers when appropriate, to ensure we are providing the best help we can and to advise them on accessing support from other services if it’s needed. We understand that when a young person has mental health issues, their families can struggle to cope.
The parents/carers peer support group.
The Project runs a monthly peer support group for parents/carers, which is free to attend (although donations are encouraged to help with running costs). Like the support groups for young people, the parents/carers group reduces feelings of isolation and helps people develop coping skills. They can discuss their experiences and ask other parents/carers for advice.
The parents/carers group enables people to protect and manage their own mental health while coping with their children’s mental health problems. Negotiating mental health care services for young people can be challenging and frustrating. Parents/carers often feel they don’t have access to the information they need and require guidance. The support group can help to illuminate the issues involved as parents/carers share their experiences.
The ripple effect.
Our peer support groups for young people can help families cope better by causing a ripple effect: when young people feel supported, their families feel supported. This is especially important when young people are unable to access other mental health services, because they don’t meet the criteria — which can leave them and their families feeling abandoned. The Project gives them hope.
Young people attending sessions may also share the coping skills they develop, by demonstrating them in everyday life. Focusing on acquiring life skills through activities empowers young people to take more responsibility for their choices and a more active role in managing their mental health. This change in mindset can help alter family dynamics, enabling parents/carers and young people to work together in addressing young people’s mental health issues, instead of young people feeling like their parents/carers are controlling them.
Giving families a guiding light.
The Project shows young people and their families that there is hope. We care about the challenges they face and will help in any way we can. This is rare — parents/carers of young people with mental health issues in other areas of the country don’t have access to any support. Recently, we received a phone call from a mother living over 200 miles away, who was desperate for any advice because she simply didn’t know how to help her child.
We are raising money through #Support4September to fund our support groups, which help young people directly — but also have a positive impact on their families. Please donate if you can: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/theprojectyp Thank you.