Parent Mental Health Day, held on the 27th of January, was founded by stem4, a charity that supports young minds to build positive mental health. It is an opportunity for parents and carers to acknowledge and discuss their struggles and share their achievements of connecting positively with each other and the whole family.
Parent Mental Health Day centres around the theme of ‘Creating Positive Relationships’, emphasising the crucial role that mental wellbeing plays in fostering healthy connections within families. This observance encourages parents to prioritise their mental health, recognising that a positive parental mindset contributes significantly to nurturing a strong and supportive relationship with their children.
What Challenges do Parents Face?
Parent Mental Health Day sheds light on the myriad challenges parents encounter, emphasising the significance of their mental wellbeing. This observance encourages a collective acknowledgment of the unique stressors, emotional strains, and societal pressures parents navigate daily.
Juggling the demands of work, parenting, and personal life creates an ongoing pressure cooker of expectations. Approximately 68% of women and 57% of men with mental health problems are parents. Parents often find themselves navigating a delicate balance, striving to meet the emotional, educational, and physical needs of their children while fulfilling professional obligations. The weight of those responsibilities can lead to chronic stress, and in some cases, burnout. The constant nature of these demands leaves little room for respite, making it challenging for parents to find moments of relaxation or downtime.
The high cost of raising children, encompassing education, healthcare, and extracurricular activities, often translate into economic stress. In March 2023, studies show that 23% of parents and carers were living in households in financial strain. This strain not only influences decision-making on daily expenditure but also generates long-term concerns about the ability to provide for the family’s future. Financial worries can lead to anxiety and a sense of instability, impacting overall wellbeing.
Caring for young children, especially during their formative years, often entails disrupted sleep patterns, resulting in a perpetual state of exhaustion. Research shows that the majority of parents – 71.91% - get less than 7 hours of sleep 3 nights a week or more. This means that parents averaged 4.07 nights of insufficient sleep per week. This chronic lack of rest not only affects parents’ physical health but also takes a toll on their cognitive function and emotional wellbeing. In the workplace, the repercussions of sleep deprivation can be profound with diminished focus, reduced productivity, and impaired decision-making become palpable challenges.
The immersive nature of parenting, coupled up with the responsibilities that come with it, can result in a gradual withdrawal from social activities and interactions. Data commissioned by Cigna 2021 shows that about 65 percent of parents and guardians are considered lonely, compared to 55 percent of nonparents. As the focus shifts towards the wellbeing of children, parents may find themselves disconnected from friends, family, and community, experiencing a sense of loneliness that goes beyond physical solitude. The lack of social engagement not only affects emotional health but also diminishes the support network crucial for navigating the challenges of parenthood.
Where Can Parents Get Support?
Parent Mental Health Day underscores the importance of destigmatising mental health challenges among parents and highlights the availability of support services.
Local Mental Health Clinics
These clinics are staffed with trained mental health professionals who offer a range of services, including counselling and therapy tailored to address various challenges parents may encounter. Parents can schedule appointments, attend group sessions, or access specialised programs designed to address specific mental health needs. The confidential and personalised nature of the services offered at these clinics ensures that parents can receive the assistance they require in a supportive and understanding environment.
Services like BetterHelp, TalkSpace, and 7 Cups offer virtual counselling and therapy sessions, allowing parents to engage with mental health professionals from the comfort of their homes. These platforms provide a flexible and confidential space for parents to discuss their challenges, receive personalised guidance, and access a variety of therapeutic resources. The convenience of online accessibility is particularly beneficial for those with busy schedules or limited local resources.
Local Support Groups (Both in-person and virtual)
These groups, whether held in-person or virtually, create a safe space for parents to share their experiences, challenges, and triumphs. Facilitated by professionals or peers, these gatherings foster a supportive environment where individuals can exchange insights, gain valuable perspectives, and build connections with others facing similar situations. The shared journey within these local support groups not only alleviates feelings of isolation but also promotes a sense of unity and camaraderie among parents, reinforcing the notion that they are not alone in their struggles.
Employee Assistant Programs (If applicable through work)
These workplace-sponsored programs typically provide confidential counselling services, resources, and referrals to help employees address a variety of personal and professional issues, including parenting stress. Accessible through employers, EAPs can connect parents with licensed counsellors or therapists who specialise in mental health. For parents, these programs serve as a practical and confidential resource, emphasising the importance of mental wellbeing within the context of their professional and personal lives.
How Can Wellity Support You?
A Wellity session ‘The Hidden Cost of ‘Having it All’: Parental Burnout’ will explore the unchartered territory of parental burnout, delving into the emotional, psychological, and physical toll of striving for a perfect work-life balance. Attendees will gain a profound understanding of the signs, causes, and coping strategies associated with parental burnout, aiming to equip participants with insights to prioritise self-care and establish healthier parenting paradigms.
Identify physical, emotional, and behavioural burnout signs.
Manage time and energy effectively, balancing parenting and personal life.
Develop awareness and strategies to avoid harmful comparisons with others, promoting self-acceptance and reducing the impact of societal pressures.
To book a meeting with our team, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.