Working with parents and carers
Parents can feel very alone when trying to help a child with a mental health problem. However, there is a lot they can do to help, and to look after their own wellbeing in the process. From January 2020 we are looking to extend our work with parents and carers.
Network and parents’ groups
Our parent lead, Wendy Minhinnet, has developed a national network for parents as well as training workshops, helping them make their voice heard. She has helped 17 areas around the country to develop parent support, often in partnership with mental health professionals.
Wendy pioneered the ‘Rollercoaster’ model of parent support groups, which help parents deal with issues that their child might be having such as depression, anxiety and self-harm.
“So glad I came to the Rollercoaster group. So welcoming and friendly and made me know I’m not alone and there is hope and help for my son.”
“Felt anxious about attending for the first time but was made to feel really welcome…Shed a few tears but also laughed harder than I’ve done in ages.”
Eating disorders – supporting families
The New Maudsley Method
If fully involved, families and carers can help their loved one to recover faster from an eating disorder and to ensure that they don’t relapse. The New Maudsley Method aims to provide carers with the skills and guidance that will best help them support their loved ones on the path towards recovery. CWMT trainer Jenny Langley [link to Jenny] specialises in eating disorders, including the New Maudsley Method.
The New Maudsley Method was developed by Professor Janet Treasure and her team at the Maudsley Hospital in London, in collaboration with the eating disorder research arm of the Institute of Psychiatry. It is predominantly delivered through workshops and aims to lower anxiety and distress in carers and family members and help them understand the challenges of recovering from an eating disorder. It gives them the communication tools to support their loved ones in a calm, compassionate and empathic manner and to role model emotional intelligence and the importance of self-care.
“The workshops made a huge difference to my understanding of anorexia, gave me confidence that I could have a positive effect on my loved one’s journey through illness, where before I felt helpless. You came away with … real life examples of how to handle difficult situations.”
Resources for parents
We have several leaflets designed to help parents support children and young people who may have mental health issues.
Teen Brain Matters workshops
It can be extremely rewarding and enjoyable to be a parent or carer, but it is not always easy. As children grow into adolescence this brings its own set of challenges.
We now know that, other than during the first three years of life, the brain goes through the biggest change in its development during adolescence. This is a critical time in teens’ lives and parents and carers have a crucial role to play in helping to guide and develop them to grow into healthy and successful adults.
CWMT’s Teen Brain Matters workshop brings together the latest understanding of neuroscience and development psychology and aims to help parents and carers understand more clearly the changes our teenagers are going through and what we can do to help support them at this time.
The workshop has been developed by Dr John Coleman, a psychologist with an international reputation for his work on the teenage years. His most recent book is entitled Why won’t my teenager talk to me? (Routledge, 2018). This is also available as an audio-book.
We are working with John to train more of our trainers to deliver this workshop as part of our offer to schools and FE colleges in some areas.
Organisations that offer support to parents and carers
MindMate: although a local site, MindMate has information that is helpful no matter where you live.
Young Minds is an excellent source of easily accessible information about all aspects of child mental health, including a Parent Helpline.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists has a very detailed section on help for the whole family and provides factual, comprehensive guidance on all mental health problems and treatments, with downloadable leaflets.
MindEd for Families provides free, quality-assured advice which is easy to understand. It is helpful for any adults caring for children or teenagers with mental health problems.
Samaritans provides 24 hours a day, nationwide support by telephone, email and face-to-face for any stress, anxiety or despair related issues, including suicide.
Papyrus offers advice and support from qualified professionals about suicide. This is for anyone up to the age of 35 who is having suicidal thoughts and also for their friends and families. They can be contacted through the website or on their “Hopeline”.
Beat gives comprehensive and clear advice on all aspects of dealing with eating disorders, including helpful guidance to parents, carers and families.
Sane offers out of hours, daily, specialist support and information to anyone effected by mental illness including family and carers.