Mental health and parenting

Help and advice for parents and families dealing with mental health problems.

Parenting with mental health problems

Parenting comes with lots of challenges, which can be even more difficult if you're dealing with mental health problems.

Not all children who live with someone with mental health problems will experience abuse or be affected negatively. In fact, many parents are able to give children safe and loving care.

But sometimes it does affect their ability to cope with family life. So it's important that parents and carers can find support when they need it.

When we talk about mental health problems we mean conditions like:

  • depression
  • anxiety disorders
  • schizophrenia
  • bipolar disorder
  • and personality disorders.

Sometimes these conditions can affect a parent's ability to provide the care that children need. Parents or carers may:

  • have mood swings
  • find it difficult to recognise their children's needs
  • or struggle with keeping routines such as mealtimes, bedtimes and taking their children to school.

If you, or someone you know is struggling, there's support available.

If you're a parent or carer and you want to talk about mental health problems, contact our helpline to speak to one of our trained counsellors. You can call us on 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk.

Where to find help

Other organisations providing support to children and families include:

  • Mind
    information and support as well as helplines for people experiencing mental health problems and their friends and families.
  • Rethink Mental Illness
    Advice as well as services and support for people affected by mental illness and their friends and families.
  • Samaritans
    Round-the-clock confidential support to people going through a tough time.
  • SANE
    Emotional support to people affected by mental health problems and their families and friends.

Help for children

Sometimes children worry about their parents or family members and might need someone to talk to. They can talk to Childline online or by calling 0800 1111 at any time 24/7.

There's also useful advice on the Childline website about supporting a family member with a mental health issue.

You can help us support even more families