It’s nothing new that parenting is really hard work. Joy, frustration, pain and love; all of these very human emotions are amplified when we are raising a child to adulthood. We often seek the support of the people closest to us in the form of advice and commiseration. After these kinds of conversations, we feel renewed and validated, ready to take on the next parenting challenge.
When our young adults begin to struggle with their mental health, our fear and concern become elevated. Sometimes our expectations of what we thought parenting would be like are wiped away in a heartbeat. We avoid conversations with the very people we used to seek out because we don’t feel that they would understand these new, frightening challenges. We worry about judgment too, so we isolate ourselves.
But there is support for parents of young adults with mental health issues. Medical professionals, therapeutic resources and parent-to-parent support groups all form an invaluable part of a family’s team as young adults work towards recovery and healthy lives.
Where do I go to get help for my young adult child?
One of the first steps you’ll take, once you are aware that your child needs help, is to have them evaluated by a medical professional. Their pediatrician or your family doctor will be able to assess their needs and refer them to the indicated specialist or medical center. It can be so comforting to have someone in your corner who has medical expertise and who knows your child and/or your family.
Once my child begins treatment, what should I be doing?
You must gain as much knowledge on their specific mental health condition as possible. The more you know, the more you can support them. And the more you know, the less frightening and uncertain the circumstances will feel.
Websites such as Mental Health America and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provide support for parents of young adults with mental health issues by providing information and crisis lines. Not only that, they can connect you with the right treatment center in your state.
What if I’m just really overwhelmed?
It would be more surprising if you WEREN’T overwhelmed. There are so many decisions to make while you are worried about your child. You need some backup as you deal with the emotions and uncertainty you are experiencing.
Getting professional guidance during this time is a really good idea. Counseling and talking therapy can help you learn ways to support your child during this time of crisis, and will also set you up to continue healthy family habits for the long term.
Parent Support Groups
One of the most powerful ways to access support for parents of young adults with mental health issues is by joining a parent support group. The isolation that most parents feel when their young adults are struggling can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair. Joining a support group of other parents who know what you are going through is a powerfully encouraging experience.
Not only that, parent support groups can lead to the sharing of valuable resources, ones that are referred by parents who have already used them.
Other Parents Like Me provides support for parents of young adults with mental health issues
OPLM was created by parents whose teens and young adults struggle with mental health and substance use issues. We understand that isolation and fear of judgment. We have built a community that cares, with support groups facilitated by parents who are your peers. Reach out today to find out how we can support you as you help your child on their wellness journey.