Mental health & parenting – how to make yours better

Mental health and wellbeing article
photo by claudia-wolff on unsplash

Becoming and being a parent is without a doubt a big change for anyone’s life. It brings with it many happy moments and also some challenges. It’s no surprise then that it can cause mental health problems.

Mental health is so important in everyone’s lives, especially parents and even children. within any one year, it’s said that one in four people will suffer problems with it. In this article, we’ll cover Mental health problems, where you can get help, and what you can do to feel better.

We can’t go any further though without mentioning that if you’re suffering right now. Finding it hard to cope or having suicidal thoughts then please call the Samaritans now on 116 123. You can also visit their website Samaritans.org here. You also don’t have to be feeling suicidal to call them.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger – a life-threatening situation call 999

With the many situations that pregnancy, birth, and becoming a new mother can bring, it’s no surprise they can suffer. Dads to be or new dads aren’t exempt either. A long complicated birth can bring on PTSD, and becoming a new dad can cause anxiety and stress!

Some mental health statistics in parents

The statistics around mental health issues in parents is startling. We believe that these are not even all the cases. This is because some don’t report or try to get help with their challenges. Therefore these don’t get added to the statistics. Although we in the UK and western world are getting better at recognising and treating mental health issues we’re still not where we need to be.

We hope by highlighting these statistics, that if you are suffering right now, you realise that you are not the only one! There is help available and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

So here they are:

  • The Royal College of Psychiatrists reported that around 68% of women and 57% of men with mental health problems are parents.
  • It was found in a report by The London School of Economics, King’s College London, and the Centre for Mental Health, that approximately one in eight women experience moderate to severe postnatal depression
  • Anxiety, depression, and PTSD are the most common problems experienced during pregnancy and after birth.
  • National Childbirth Trust found that, among first-time UK fathers, 38% were concerned about Their mental health.
  • It’s estimated that 10% of new fathers suffer from Postnatal depression.
  • Around 35-40% of fathers report feeling helpless at the birth of their child and can suffer from PTSD after, read our article here

Recognising problems

Sometimes it can be hard to recognise when you or a loved one is suffering. If you do recognise any of the symptoms in the list below, it’s time to take action. This list is not exhaustive. Even if you have other symptoms not on the list, it’s still a good idea to seek help.

  • Crying or feeling like you could cry and maybe not even knowing why or even at the slightest thing
  • Feeling tired, exhausted, or having low energy
  • Not sleeping
  • Not eating, overeating, using drink or drugs to cope
  • Finding it hard to think and making poor decisions
  • Not wanting to be with people and making excuses to go out
  • Not enjoying things you usually would
  • Feeling numb to things
  • Feeling usually stressed – this can also present physical pains
  • Having panic attacks

Getting help

There is a lot more understanding around these issues in parents these days. Also, fortunately, there is now a lot of help too. There are many services around that can help you. This can be either through the NHS, charities, or private therapists and councilors.

If you need urgent help call the Samaritans on 116 123 or check out their website for more guidance.
*Note: It does not need to be urgent to the Samaritans.

Book an appointment with your GP, they’ll talk with you about how you are feeling and if necessary refer you on to a more specialised service or prescribe medication.

For non-urgent issues, you can check out the NHS talking therapies page for free therapy of counseling.

CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, CALM provides support for anyone who needs it. They believe we can all help fight suicide. Call 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5 pm to midnight) or visit their website and use their Free and anonymous webchat

Self-care isn’t selfish

Parents can sometimes feel or think that they are being selfish by not focusing on their children. Ironically this can cause more issues to your mental well-being. It’s simply not true though. You need to help yourself out first. Then you can help your child or partner. Self-care isn’t selfish.

Looking after your mental wellbeing

Theres many things you can do to help yourself and start feeling better today. These are many tried and tested ways:

  • Get some exercise – Go for a walk in nature, a run, or an exercise routine that can be found on YouTube, on an app on your phone. You could book on to a class at the gym
  • Spend time thinking about what you’re grateful for
  • Talk to a friend or family member about how you feel
  • Sleep is really important, it can clear your head, so be sure to get plenty of it.
  • Focus on your feelings and thoughts. Doing this rather than fighting them can make them dissipate.

We really hope that if you needed it that this article has helped you. If this has opened your eyes to the issues around mental health we’d be grateful if you could hit one of the sharing buttons below. This could help someone else and it’d certainly help us to provide more useful content.

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