Raising children can present any number of challenges on a good day; doing so while living with mental health issues may at times make a person feel both helpless and hopeless. Postpartum depression is one of the most prevalent mental health issues affecting parents—in some countries, up to nearly 60% of mothers in some countries experience PPD–but this is far from the only mental health concern a parent might face. Some may have lived with depression, anxiety, bipolar, autism, or another condition their whole lives.
Adoptive parents, foster parents, and biological parents alike may experience mental health issues, whether these concerns predate parenthood or are brought on or exacerbated by becoming a parent. Numerous factors can have a negative impact on mental health, including extreme stress, poor physical health, or financial and employment concerns, among others. Though many people find parenthood to be rewarding, most would agree it is not without its challenges. Any of these concerns on their own can threaten a person’s overall mental, emotional, and physical well-being, and a combination of elements may make it difficult for a person to maintain good mental health.
Learning to navigate mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, or others while raising a child or children, dealing with work and other aspects of daily life, and attempting to maintain overall physical health often requires professional support. Please know there is help available if you are a parent experiencing mental health issues. You can view a list of qualified therapists and counselors offering help in your area through GoodTherapy.org, but you can also find helpful resources online that provide more information and a way to feel less alone in your journey.
Here are GoodTherapy.org’s top picks for resources offering help and support to parents who are coping with mental health concerns while raising children.
- Honest Mom: JD Bailey, the self-appointed Honest Mom, writes about parenting with postpartum depression (PPD), anxiety, and depression in order to help lift the stigma surrounding these conditions. By sharing her thoughts and experiences on her blog, Bailey works to creates a community of parents who can find mutual understanding in the challenges of working while raising children and trying to maintain mental health.
- Mind: This UK-based organization campaigns to get mental health care to those who need it, organizing funds and mobilizing volunteers to serve a variety of mental health causes. Mind’s website offers numerous articles on mental health topics, including tips on how to parent with mental health concerns, resources for mental health emergencies, and information on how loved ones can offer support. The website also maintains an online community for visitors and offers information about various helplines.
- Esperanza: Esperanza magazine seeks to offer “hope to cope” with anxiety and depression through the wealth of articles on their site. In addition to offering information to help people recognize and understand these mental health conditions, the site features articles aimed at helping families–including parents, new mothers, or teens–who are affected by anxiety and depression feel supported.
- Anxious Toddlers: Targeting anxiety from many angles, Natasha Daniels of the blog Anxious Toddlers offers many resources to parents with anxiety and parents of children with anxiety. Through her blog, podcast, and YouTube channel, Daniels helps parents who have been diagnosed with OCD and anxiety learn parenting skills and child safety tips to increase their confidence as parents.
- Familyeducation: Part lifestyle resource, part parenting website, familyeducation has articles for parents of children from infancy to young adulthood. The site, which focuses primarily on dealing with stress, offers tips for keeping calm through the chaotic moments of parenthood and managing stress to avoid overwhelm. Articles on family life emphasize the power of positive thinking and mindfulness.
- COPMI: Children of Parents with a Mental Illness: Visitors to COPMI can access a list of organizations and resources for families affected by mental health issues. COPMI seeks to reduce the impact of mental health issues on a family, teach conflict management, and remind parents that they are not alone by helping them build support networks that allow them to be there for their children and themselves.
- ChildTrends: Since 1979, this nonprofit organization has published research on and evaluated the efficacy of programs for children, with the goal of improving the lives of children and families through informing and educating the public and policymakers. Some of the studies shared by ChildTrends highlights parental depression, PPD, and other mental health concerns that relate to parenthood.
- Scary Mommy: A health and wellness blog that explores all things parenting, Scary Mommy sheds light on many of the challenges parents might face, from dealing with a chronic illness while parenting to managing control issues. Scary Mommy was created by Jill Smokler in 2008 when she began writing about staying at home with her children, and the blog has since transformed into a community of parents united by the idea that parenting need not be perfect.
- CHADD: CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that advocates for people with ADHD. Its digital library contains many resources for parents with ADHD, including videos and research reports. The website also offers community forums, a helpline, and a blog. People who wish to participate in a research study can search CHADD’s online directory for more information.
- Halbreich, U., & Karkun, S. (2006). Cross-cultural and social diversity of prevalence of postpartum depression and depressive symptoms. Journal of Affective Disorders, 91(2), 97-111. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032705004222
- Langner, T. S., & Michael, S. T. (1963). Life stress and mental health: II. The Midtown Manhattan Study. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1965-02390-000
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