When Suzanne Alderson’s 14-year-old daughter became suicidal in 2015, she and her family were thrown into a dark, frightening, and isolating time. All of the support was focused, rightly, on her daughter, but she knew that as a parent she had a vital part to play in guiding her daughter and her family through this challenging experience. And there simply wasn’t anywhere she could find to get the kind of support, training or connection she needed to help her.
One night on suicide watch, she decided if she got through this experience, she would make it her mission to ensure that no other parent felt as alone or isolated as she did. And so Parenting Mental Health was born.
Our work is not easy at times – in fact on some days, it feels very hard and heavy and we know we won’t make change happen overnight. But every time we hear about connection between a parent and a seemingly ‘lost’ young person, we’re driven to carry on. Each time, we see a child recover and their relationship with their parent emerge stronger and tighter than before mental illness, we know we have to continue.
It means that we believe that parents have a vital, often overlooked role to play in supporting their children to strong, resilient and positive mental health. And this happens when we as parents change our own behaviours and expectations to meet the different needs of mental illness.
We know from members of the PMH community that Partnering, the behavioural change approach Suzanne developed to support her daughter, they can become more compassionate and connected to their child, their family and themselves.
And Partnering parents model better behaviours around acceptance, communication, consistency and self care, which all leads to better relationships. And in time, when the next generation become parents, they will model the communication styles and behaviours of their parents. They will be more understanding of mental health and the challenges it brings.
Parenting Mental Health started with a Facebook group in September 2016, with a goal to connect and support parents. Since then it has grown to support parents around the world across its digital channels and programs. Parenting Mental Health now empowers, educates, and supports tens of thousands of parents to successfully navigate each stage of their child’s mental illness, and to become stronger and more resilient families.
We know that if parents can reflect on how they parent – and adopt Suzanne’s approach of Partnering – amazing change can happen and deep connections can be made.
We believe in the power of compassion and connection to help us end generational mental illness.
We believe in the power of the parent to help end generational mental illness.
We believe in the power of hope and belief.
You're not alone. We're here to listen and help.
Connect with other parents dealing with similar challenges around their child's mental health in the Parenting Mental Health community.
It's safe, welcoming and judgement free.