As a parent how should I act?

Firstly, I am not a parent and nor do I have any experience of being a parent, thus I can only write this post from my perspective and what my parents and others did for me, that has helped me through my battles with mental illness.

I often get lots of tweets and emails about how people feel they cannot talk to their parents in the fear that they won't understand, they will look down on them, or they will just laugh at it and these stories often sadden me. As a sufferer, it's important to remember that what you're going through is not your fault and if someone is willing to listen and try and understand, then that's great. I know it is hard to talk about your situation, but you may be surprised at how postively your parents may act and if they don't, you could inform them on what you're going through; there are various websites out there that can help you with this.

As a parent, the most important thing you can do is be there for them and be a listening ear. Unfortunatly, even parents don't sometimes have the answers. The worst thing that a parent can do though in my opinion, is to just tell someone to "get over it", to say "it's not real", to just "think positively" and to kind of ignore it. This suggests to them, that mental health shouldn't be talked about and is bad, which of course is not the case. After all, mental illness can kill just like a physical illness, so it's important to take it seriously and not brush it aside.

In terms of getting help, there's a range of services out there, which sometimes can be hard to find. Nevertheless, both the public and private sector have options to help. All your child wants is support, so it's always nice to know that a parent will support them through finding therapy, going to the doctors and taking medication, if that may be the case.

Mental health is also a very sensitive subject, and hence why I think it's important for my mental health to only be discussed with those I trust and not told to others which may make the situation worse, and to make me feel uncomfortable.

Again, I am not a parent, but this has been the most beneficial for me. Let them know that you can talk to them, even if you may feel awkward about it. Discussing what kind of support each person wants whilst going through these mental health issues, is also important. "What makes the person feel safe?" "What makes them feel comfortable?" As I'm sure many sufferers can relate, we don't want to be smothered with mental health talk all of the time! But, battling mental illness is often too difficult to cope with on your own and this why a support network is beneficial. 

I know it's hard for both sides, but trying your best to talk is a great step in the road to recovery. You can do this!

I'll leave you with a video, which may help begin your conversation on mental health:

I am not disordered

Hi! I’m Aimee from

Amy, has kindly asked me to write a guest post about being an inpatient in a psychiatric hospital to give some insight for those who have never been admitted.

I was first sectioned in 2009 when I took my first overdose in response to auditory hallucinations and I remember having absolutely no idea what was going on. I’d heard horror stories about our local psychiatric hospital and the police and hospital staff kept using terminology that I had never heard and didn’t understand; no one thought to explain it all to me.
In my second admission, I was sent to a PICU for the first time; a PICU is a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit and once again, the seriousness of this was never explained to me, I just remember being told that the doors were locked. A Unit that is meant for some of the most mentally unwell people was used because I kept escaping from the open ward and the police told hospital staff they could not keep looking for me every single time I ran. That PICU was where I met my first inpatient friend; she persuaded me to finally tell people about my trauma and although I also had my first experience of ‘seclusion’ (a slightly padded room that you are usually kept in after needing to be restrained and sedated) there, it still wasn’t a particularly memorable experience. My third admission was the result of a ‘psychotic episode’ in which I’d become completely lost and consumed with my hallucinations and delusions. I was kept on a PICU for about three months and I saw a lot of poorly people, one of which, assaulted me. I was later told that this admission was used to determine whether I had psychosis.

From then (early 2010) until summer 2012, I never spent more than a month in hospital though I was admitted many times as I continued to overdose, self-harm and experience hallucinations. I was eventually diagnosed with BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and on one of my numerous admissions, a Doctor advised that my community team begin looking into a specialist hospital for me. I didn’t even know places like that existed! The first hospital I was assessed for, refused to accept my risk and I remember thinking ‘I’m never going to get better; no one will give me the chance.’ Then finally, I was admitted to a specialist ward in a private hospital, two and half hours away from home.

I've been here for 23 months now and as cliché as it sounds, it’s been a rollercoaster! Being an inpatient for so long has its positives and negatives. Probably the best thing has been that it’s meant my Doctors have gotten to know me properly which has meant they’ve got a better understanding of things. Another positive is that because it’s a long-term ward, I've made some amazing friends and I'm actually getting better because that’s what this ward is for. All of my previous admissions have either been about keeping me safe or trying to break my cycle of self-harm, so no hospital has ever actually tried to work through the causes for all of this. The two main negatives that I see are being away from home for so long and it’s sometimes quite an intense environment to be ‘living’ in. There’s always going to be some girls that don't get along and I've witnessed many arguments and even a few physical fights. There’s also the odd upset from staff when there’s a lack in communication/organisation or a let-down. But ultimately, I’m so grateful that my funding was approved for me to be here; this hospital has genuinely saved my life.