eheadspace Group Chat
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Group Chat
Helping your young person when you're experiencing your own mental health difficulties
March 14th 2019 @ 7pm AEDT
Parents and other supportive adults are often struggling with their own issues at the same time as caring for adolescents. It can be hard when your own mental health and wellbeing is compromised and you also have concerns for a young person and are trying to support them.

Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:00 pm
Hi everyone and welcome to our Group Chat session today for parents and other adults supporting young people! Today we hope we can offer you the chance to ask questions, share with each other helpful ideas and generally find some more support for yourselves in assisting young people you care about. We’ll respond to your questions and add some comments and resources as well.
We have a range of mental health professionals in our session tonight. My name is Mich. I am a family therapist, and we have Di and Susan who are mental health clinicians on our team tonight. We’re ready to respond to your comments and questions.
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:00 pm
From our Family reference group we have Sharene joining us tonight.
For any of you who have joined a session before, you’ll notice things look a little different now. We’re excited to be on a new website and there will be some new features coming too.
We’re looking forward to hearing from everyone and we want to emphasise that contributions from all ethnicities, cultures, faiths, sexual orientations and gender identities make these chats much more interesting, safe and representative of the communities we live in.
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:00 pm
Sometimes it takes a bit of time for us to respond – so please hang in there. We try to give your questions some thought and hopefully make our responses useful to you.
A couple of things before you start chatting
• When you submit your question it won't appear straight away
• Our team will be busy reading and preparing an answer to your question before it is posted live - we appreciate your patience
• If we can't publish anything we'll let you know
• It also helps if you use a name (even if it's not your own!) so if you have a follow up questions we know who we're talking to. Also, if you don’t use a name all your responses come in anonymously so that can be confusing for us!
Thanks in advance to everyone participating : )
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:00 pm
And just to say, don't worry if you feel this is moving on too quickly for you to read everything! The page jumps ahead when we post material. But it will all be available on our website from this page from later today or tomorrow. This content stays on our website for quite a while too.... https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/group-chat/friends-and-family/
Di eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:01 pm
Hi and welcome to our session tonight I am looking forward to chatting with you.
Susan eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:02 pm
Hello I'm Susan I'm a clinician here at eheadspace. Before stepping into this role I supported adults who were experiencing mental health difficulties many of them were parents who were doing everything they could to make sure their young people had happy lives. I am looking forward to this chat and meeting you all this evening :)
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:03 pm
So ....we post content, videos, pics and links and also questions and comments and responses. While we post some material to read you can start sending in your questions!
When you have your own mental health challenges
Key points:
• You’re not alone! It can feel like you’re alone, but many people are contacting our service and other services who are grappling with similar issues
• Having mental health challenges does not mean you are a failure! It’s common for adults to feel like a failure or to feel blamed or shamed. Many factors contribute to mental health difficulties and all of us have vulnerabilities.
• Struggling with our mental health can include diagnosed mental illnesses, but also more broadly anything that impacts our mental, physical and social wellbeing
• Life events can have big impacts on even the most resilient of us.
• Parenting is a challenging and at times demanding task which naturally impacts on us
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:04 pm
Key points continued...
• Parents of adolescents often have other life stage related challenges that can contribute to difficulties. These can include demands at work, tiredness due to long term parenting and other responsibilities, care of the older generation, hormonal and health changes such as menopause, lack of time for self-care and individual pursuits, the challenge of adapting to a new set of parenting requirements that adolescence can bring, and more. Some people find different stages of childhood and adolescence easier than others. For example, you might have found it easier to parent young pre-school aged children or primary aged children, but are finding adolescence harder to navigate. (or, of course, the other way around!) This is normal and can vary according to how we were parented, our knowledge and the supports we have, our personality, our own experiences at certain stages, and more.
• The impact of our mental health challenges can be increased if we don’t have a lot of support or are vulnerable for a range of reasons
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:06 pm
Ideas – what might assist you and your young person?
• Self-care can sometimes be seen as an ‘optional extra’ but is fundamental to our wellbeing. As much as possible model good self-care and help-seeking for your young person and acknowledge that doing so is also good for you
• Talk with your young person. It can be easy to forget that your young person is likely to have their own theories of what is happening, whether or not it has been discussed with them. What is your young person’s understanding of what’s happening to you? It’s better to talk about things than to avoid the topic and it is generally best for the parent or person affected to be the one who does so, if possible.
• Think about your family and friends and other contacts. Who else do you think would understand the situation? Sometimes a person not in the immediate family is a good option for getting more support.
• If you feel you don’t have the support you need, reach out via other networks. Schools, community health centres, parentlines, online forums and groups can all be sources of support. We will be posting a range of options for you to look at later.
• Some parents report that their young person uses their mental health difficulties against them by blaming them for all their problems or as a way to divert the conversation, etc. One way to consider this challenge is to remind yourself that ‘I am not the illness’. We call this “externalising” and this can be a helpful approach. It’s important to also work on positive strategies as much as possible of course.
• Work with your young person’s school as much as possible. This is something parents worry about. However often when the school is informed about the challenges you face, with the young person’s knowledge, schools are able to offer more support and to be more understanding if there are any issues.
• Services showing understanding of the whole family context is important and hopefully becoming more common. We know that the impacts of mental illness can go both ways. A large proportion (approx 70%) of young people using Child and Adolescent Mental Health services have a parent with mental illness or mental health difficulties.
Zara
Participant
14th Mar, 7:07 pm
How do I talk to my kids’ teachers and to other parents? I need to let them know my kids will need more support at the moment, but I’m really worried it might backfire on my kids and maybe on me later too.
Di eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:07 pm
Thanks Zara. That’s a great question and a very good idea. Schools and parents communicating well and working together as well as possible is a good general goal. You could consider: who is the best person to talk to in the school? …eg the person who you think has the most influence, who is confidential and should understand eg school counsellor or coordinator. It can then be up to that person in discussion with you about how to organise support.
Schools should be confidential so they can’t disclose what’s happening to other families, but they should be aware that mental health issues happen to all of us, so having some wider info might be helpful
This link has a lot of good ideas about talking to your young person’s school: http://www.copmi.net.au/parents/helping-my-child-and-family/talking-to-the-school
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:08 pm
Awareness and understanding – for yourself and in contact with others
• Be aware that grief and loss are the natural accompaniments to challenges of various kinds, including mental illness at times. Grief occurs when anything important is lost even if temporarily, and that could include loss of a job, health, hopes for the future, changed relationships and more. We ran a previous group chat session on grief and the link will be posted later in our session today
• People often feel shame at having to deal with child protection or other organisations and proving capacity to parent can be difficult. As much as possible, work on acknowledging your challenges without feeling shamed or blamed. This can be difficult but you are not alone!
• For some people and groups, life challenges have impacted more intensely. This might lead to increased mental health difficulties. For example people experiencing family violence, substance abuse, communities with histories of trauma such as aboriginal and Torres Strait islander or refugee communities, those with insecure housing, families who are involved with child protection.
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:10 pm
Hi everyone, keep sending in your questions : )
Tash
Participant
14th Mar, 7:10 pm
My daughter is starting to answer back and what she’s saying is pretty hurtful – that I haven’t been there for her because of my own issues. I’ve tried so hard to actually be there for her!
Susan eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:10 pm
That sounds very difficult and painful for you, Tash, especially as you’ve tried so hard to be a support to your daughter. Thanks for sharing, I’m sure that others will be experiencing similar things and will appreciate your honesty in opening up about your experience.
Children and especially adolescents can often spot the vulnerability of parents – they have more time to observe us than the other way around. Your daughter might have been challenging you on other issues if not about this one, but it may be that she is aware that this is something that really matters for you.
If your parenting didn’t matter to you it wouldn’t be a hurtful thing, so try to take some reassurance from that fact.
It’s not easy, but try to continue to respond not out of guilt but out of your positive desire to maintain a good relationship with your daughter. Listening to the emotion underlying your daughter’s words and responding by validating this can also be helpful. Maybe she I saying hurtful things to you as a way to express frustration or anger. In this case you could say something like “it sounds like you are really angry. What has happened for you to feel this way?” could open up the conversation and encourage your daughter to engage more productively with you
Plan time together doing fun and relaxing things if possible as this could provide her with an opportunity to have contact with you that is positive.
There has been more focus in different therapies recently on what gets in the way of our relationships and how to repair that. They tend to be described as ‘attachment repair’ or ‘rebuilding relationships’. So if things continue to be difficult you might look out for some supports that can help in this way perhaps?
Finally there are a lot of supports out there, you don’t have to carry this alone. It can be hard to reach out but it could make a difference if things are not improving as much as you would like.
Kim
Participant
14th Mar, 7:11 pm
Our family has a bit of a history of mental health issues, depression on my side of the family (and my uncle suicided when he was in his 20s which had a huge effect on the family) and on my husband’s side of the family there are a couple of people who have been diagnosed with bipolar. How can I help our kids (12 and 15) if possible to avoid mental illness or at least to give them support that will be helpful??
Di eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:11 pm
Hey Kim, Sorry to hear about some of the difficult things your family has experienced. And it’s great that you’re thinking about how to help your kids now.
We obviously don’t know what might have contributed to your family problems, but often in the past people didn’t want to talk about or get help for their issues. Finding ways to avoid feeling stigmatised and increasing support and skilled professional care can be very important.
We will be posting a link to a good tip sheet on communicating with your teenager during tough times
If possible, try to widen the supports for all of you, and especially your kids. Let them know that mental health issues are really common – we call that ‘normalising’ as it can help people feel less isolated and it’s genuinely the case that these issues are common 1 in 4 people experience mental health issues.
I encourage you to get help through the school if you can. Sometimes at school young people might worry about how others will react or feel it’s only a problem they face, but you can let them know these things are common, as I mentioned before, and let them know that schools shouldn’t share personal information about other students.
Risks are not ‘destiny’ and many people develop a lot of strengths because of the experiences they have been through. Reaching out for help if things are getting too much is a very important first step.
Look after yourself too! We mention this a lot in our sessions because we know parents can be inclined to not remember their own wellbeing and self-care genuinely is really important for all us. Focus on your own self-care and encourage your kids to do the same
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:12 pm
What do young people who have a parent with a mental illness need?
(This is taken from ‘Children of Parents with Mental Illness’ edited by Vicki Cowling )
• Minimum disruption when parents are ill (even small things can be very important such as food, pets, normal activities and routines)
• To understand their parent’s mental illness and have skills to cope with it (young people need understanding based on “responsible hope”. They need to know that episodes of mental illness come and go and that recovery and good health is possible. )
• To be free from feelings of guilt for their parent’s condition and from taking on inappropriate responsibilities (the young person needs to know that he or she couldn’t possibly have created the illness – even if it did start when he or she was born. )
• To know that they are not alone. Whatever age we are we can appreciate meeting others who are dealing with similar issues. Look for parent and youth support groups in your area.
• To have someone available who has earned their trust. Being able to safely share our often varied or mixed feelings and be understood is very important. Where possible look for people who have already earned the young person’s trust before a crisis has happened, and look for someone or a few people who are consistently in the young person’s life.
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:13 pm
How to help your young person build resilience?
• Resilience pics
https://beyou.edu.au/fact-sheets/wellbeing/resilience –Some material from this link here:
• What is resilience? Can include: being optimistic, using positive self-talk for encouragement, having a positive sense of self, being able to identify and express thoughts and feelings, not hiding from strong feelings, having strategies for managing emotions, being able to be adaptable, having a sense of personal agency or responsibility, being able to be persistent, having a sense of hope or purpose for the future, being able to actively help seek if help is needed.
• Ways your young person can be helped to develop resilience include: when they are loved by someone unconditionally, have an older person outside the home they can talk to, are praised for doing things themselves and working on achievements, can count on their family when they need help, know someone they want to be like, have hopefulness about the future, have a sense of a power greater than themselves, are willing to try new things, feel they can contribute to things, like themselves, have the ability to focus on a task and work on it, have a sense of humour, make goals and plans for the short and longer term.
• We will be posting self-care tip sheets and pics throughout the session – they can be ways to contribute to our resilience or that of someone else.
  • How we think is often a learned habit and people also often develop their own ‘theories’ about themselves and life. However paying attention to our thinking habits can be key to resilience. https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/unhelpful.htm
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:14 pm
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:14 pm
And this one is about resilience too
Naomi
Participant
14th Mar, 7:15 pm
I had post-natal depression with our oldest child. I got treatment and with our next couple of children things went well. My oldest is now 12 and I’m feeling she is struggling. What can I do?
Di eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:15 pm
Hi Naomi, thanks for joining our session today and for sharing your story. It’s good to hear that you’ve had some good support and you’re sounding very attuned and interested in your oldest daughter, which is lovely and so important for her.
You’re probably very aware that entering puberty, starting secondary school and being 12 is often a big transition both for young people and their parents when they start to hit puberty. So some of what you’re noticing is probably common to a lot of other young people her age. However you’re right to not ignore it!
Although your concern is vital, and it’s important to consider what your daughter might need, be aware that we can inadvertently send more ‘worried’ messages than we intend if we don’t have the support we need. Have you considered some extra support for yourself?
Parenting courses can be helpful – there are some good ones around such as Triple P and Tuning into Teens. Joining a program like this can help you feel you’re not alone as well as give you skills and strategies
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:16 pm
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:17 pm
some tips from others who have also had their own challenges
• Headcoach - using sports people to share their struggles and what has been helpful https://headspace.org.au/headcoach/ and one which generously shares some of the life vulnerabilities that can impact our wellbeing and mental health and how to move on: Kurtley Beale
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:18 pm
How can services do better?
• Promote greater participation in decisions, treatment etc
• Consider families in a holistic way and the life cycle issues that are relevant
• Train and support staff to work holistically
• Provide good information for clients of all ages
• Improve links between services including for example, between adult mental health agencies and child protection agencies
• Recognise that reaching out for help is hard when parents are worried their children might be removed
• Focus on families’ needs rather than services limitations
Example of services that might be needed (article from book edited by Vicki Cowling)
a) For the young person: continuity (residence, diet, family, friends, activities; debriefing after frightening or other highly emotional incidents; limit on the extent to which s/he takes over household responsibilities
b) For both parent and young person: information about the situation and parental illness; respite; coping strategies and skills
c) For parent: housekeeping; bill-paying; assistance with dealing with the outside world; relief from symptoms; recovery strategies; encouragement to exercise as much responsibility as condition allows
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:19 pm
We naturally need to address problems, but it's easy sometimes to forget what are the positive things that keep us well, help us recover etc. So we'll be posting some material on those things and some tips sheets in the next few minutes
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:19 pm
Wellbeing – what is it?
Mental wellbeing is described by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as “the state in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or illness.
Elements that can contribute to a person’s wellbeing are:
• Health.
• Personal relationships.
• Feelings of safety.
• Standard of living.
• Sense of achievement and purpose.
• Feeling part of the community.
• Future security.
Some tip sheets on wellbeing from Be You https://beyou.edu.au/fact-sheets
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:20 pm
Recovery – what is it?
It has been described as "...the establishment of a fulfilling and meaningful life and a positive sense of identity founded on hopefulness and self-determination." There are different models but the following is one:
This model suggests four processes that help with recovery:
1. Hope: Finding& maintaining hope for recovery and a better future;
2. Responsibility: Taking responsibility for wellness/ control of life generally:
3. Identity: Establishing a positive identity, and
4. Meaning: Finding meaning and purpose in life.
And the stages of recovery they suggest are:
1. Moratorium: A stage of hopelessness and self-protective withdrawal.
2. Awareness: The realisation that recovery and a fulfilling life is possible.
3. Preparation: Search for personal resources and external sources of help.
4. Rebuilding: Taking positive steps towards meaningful goals.
5. Growth: Sense of control over one's life/ looking forward to future.
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:20 pm
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:25 pm
Like our ‘recovery picture’ life is often messier and more unpredictable that models imply. But models sometimes result from listening and learning from people with lived experience as to how things worked for them, what they found helpful, and what they would like to share with others who might be experiencing difficulty. Many people derive real satisfaction from knowing that their struggles might in some way help someone else.
People may experience some or all of these phases at different times, and may move back and forward between them. They can however give some guidance as to the challenges people often face on the way to recovery.
Claire
Participant
14th Mar, 7:25 pm
I feel a lot of guilt when I relapse with my depression. I don’t feel like a good role model for my kids who also battle depression. Maintaining a mask is exhausting.
Di eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:25 pm
Hi Claire I am working on a reply to your very thoughtful and honest statement. I will post it in a few minutes...
Di eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:38 pm
Claire I think you are doing an amazing job in supporting your children and maintaining your own well being. I hear what you are saying in that it can be so exhausting in maintaining a mask when you are managing depression . Claire do you have the support of family or other adults in your life that can help when you have relapses with your depression , so that you don't have to feel that you are doing it all alone. That you have space to maintain your health and well being. I am sure that is what you would do for your children when they are managing their depression. I think you are doing a great job coming and chatting with us and being so honest.. that in itself is being a good role model... please try not to be to hard on yourself....i think you are amazing
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:38 pm
Here are a range of links that might be helpful for you in thinking about your own recovery or that of someone else:
• Recovery link from the Mind Australia site: https://www.mindaustralia.org.au/resources/recovery
• Consider peer work and volunteering as a couple of ways to use your experience to assist others, either directly or in supporting services https://www.mindaustralia.org.au/work-us/peer-work and one example in this video
• Tandem Victoria has a Carer Lived Experience program https://www.tandemcarers.org.au/carer-lived-experience-network.php
• This is from a UK site but has some good material on recovery https://www.rethink.org/living-with-mental-illness/recovery including Tools for Recovery https://www.rethink.org/living-with-mental-illness/recovery/tools-for-recovery
• Wellways https://www.wellways.org/about-us Australia’s mental health promotion
(Pat Deegan on being diagnosed as schizophrenic and recovery) - Recovery does not come from pills
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:37 pm
Grief and loss –
As touched on earlier, many life experiences can result in grief, including but not limited to the death of someone. They might relate to mental illness, the treatment and the consequences.
Naming something as ‘grief’ doesn’t necessarily change the experience, but understanding why and how something is impacting on you, may help you find new ways to respond and care for yourself or someone else
See the link we will post later to the group chat session we ran on grief and loss for more information and supportive ideas and services
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:37 pm
Support options and resources
• Online support is available including face to face and online
https://www.mindaustralia.org.au/overview-mind-services including online forums and services in different states. (for example this is the page on QLD services: https://www.mindaustralia.org.au/services/queensland )
Carers can ask is a very practical guide with ways carers can engage with services and tips. A VIC service, so service info won’t be relevant in other states, but the guides for carers on how to engage with services and “what carers can ask” should be relevant everywhere.
Blake
Participant
14th Mar, 7:37 pm
I need help I am sad every day
Susan eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:30 pm
Hello Anonymous 4100,
It is fantastic that you decided to reach out for support today. It isn’t an easy thing to do at all.
If you are under 25 years old we would be able to support you in a one to one setting just follow this link: https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/connect-with-a-clinician/
Alternatively, we would suggest that you try to make an appointment with your doctor (GP) as soon as possible. When you have your appointment let them know about your struggles and request a mental health care plan and a referral to a bulk billing psychologist. This will allow you to have access to psychological support that is funded through medicare and mean that you won’t be too much out of pocket. In the meantime the following helplines could be useful: https://mensline.org.au/ and https://www.beyondblue.org.au/ if things are feeling really dark and you require more emergency support please don’t hesitate to contact lifeline 13 11 14 or https://www.lifeline.org.au/
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:37 pm
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:37 pm
That video and the next ones might be helpful for the young person you're concerned about
Ned
Participant
14th Mar, 7:37 pm
My son has been diagnosed with bipolar and I’m worried about my grandchildren. My son seems erratic at the moment, but his psychiatrist won’t talk to any of the family about him. I understand confidentiality but would like to know what else I can do. I’m a major carer of the grandchildren and it’s stressful at the moment.
Susan eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:37 pm
Hi Ned, I’m really sorry to hear about your son and your concerns, and I can understand why it’s hard on top of that looking after your grandchildren. I hope this session is helpful for you!
It can be hard navigating services when confidentiality prevents any contact. You might consider making it clear that you’re not asking for any information from the psychiatrist, but that you want to inform the psychiatrist of what’s going on. Another way to consider this is to talk to your doctor about the situation, the stress you’re under and see if the GP can play a role here. If your son is willing to see a GP that could also be a way to improve communication. Consider writing a letter to the psychiatrist or the GP sending a letter. I’m sure you’ll understand that your son being aware you’re concerned and feeling he needs more support is important.
Are you aware of any services for carers including grandparent carers? We’ll be posting quite a range of options soon. You can also contact eheadspace for individual support to talk through the situation on 1800 650 890. It sounds like some face to face practical help could be important.
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:37 pm
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:36 pm
Di eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:39 pm
Hi Claire, I have moved your response up to where your question is... just in case you were looking for our response to your question...
Claire
Participant
14th Mar, 7:41 pm
Thank you Di, I really appreciate your response and kind words.
Di eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:42 pm
Claire you are more than welcome... you are doing an amazing job never forget that..
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:42 pm
Programs for young people whose parent has mental health difficulties: These are Victorian programs so may not be available in your state at this stage, but it could give some ideas!
• Satellite foundation VIC. They have developed a young leader program that involves mentoring younger children. https://www.satellitefoundation.org.au/ https://www.satellitefoundation.org.au/programs/
mi.spot (Stands for: “mental illness: supportive, preventative, online, targeted”) – program for young adults (18-25 yrs) whose parents have mental difficulties. VIC. 6 weeks online program https://www.monash.edu/news/articles/intervention-program-helps-young-people-overcome-family-trauma
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:42 pm
Books and tips for parents of children. May still be helpful when you’re supporting an adolescent:
• Online book “when your parent has a mental illness- https://www.flipsnack.com/copmi/when-your-parent-has-a-mental-illness-fdnqd000c.html
• Online book “how can I help my child” https://www.flipsnack.com/copmi/how-can-i-help-my-child-fdzn2immv.html
• Booklet “my child’s support network” https://www.flipsnack.com/copmi/how-can-i-help-my-child-fdzn2immv.html
• Online book “the best for me and my baby- managing mental health during pregnancy and early childhood” http://www.copmi.net.au/documents/product-downloads/2-the-best-for-me-and-my-baby/file
• Family Talk- Tips and information for families where a parent has a mental illness http://www.copmi.net.au/documents/product-downloads/14-family-talk/file
Di eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:47 pm
Claire another option to let you know that you can contact eheadspace to speak with a Family and Friends clinician or eheadspace clinician at any time that our service is open...
Blake
Participant
14th Mar, 7:47 pm
Please help me because this is not working for me and a real wast of time
Susan eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:47 pm
Hello Blake,
Unfortunately the group chat session is not really the format that would best suit your needs as it is designed for parents who are experiencing a mental health challenge and are also parenting. Given everything that you have said it is going to be very important for you to receive some 1:1 support. If you are under 25 years old please call us on 1800 650 890 or log on to our web chat using this link https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/connect-with-a-clinician/. I have let our clinicians know and they are ready and waiting for you to contact us. If you are over 25 years old please call mensline 1300 78 99 78 https://mensline.org.au/ life line on 13 11 14 www.lifeline.org.au.
Claire
Participant
14th Mar, 7:47 pm
That’s great. Looking forward to exploring the links you are all posting
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:47 pm
Resources in other languages
• This page has a range of translated resources, starting with material for younger children and including translated material for fathers and older children http://www.copmi.net.au/find-resources/translated-materials/page-1-15
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:47 pm
Jane : )
Participant
14th Mar, 7:50 pm
My partner was violent towards me and I’m managed to leave and move on. I now have a caring partner but my kids (13 and 15 – both boys) are struggling. I can see they are starting to behave in some similar ways to my husband. My 15 year old is taller than me and he is standing over me at times, and punching doors at times. He’s not hitting me but I’m feeling scared. It’s bringing back my earlier experience and I know I’m struggling more now. Sometimes I feel like shouting back and hitting back and other times I just feel my legs wobbling and either way I know I’m not managing it well.
Di eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:50 pm
Hey Jane, Thanks for coming on to our session tonight. I’m sorry to hear about what you’ve been through and the legacy that some of your experience is having on the whole family.
So glad to hear you have a caring partner now, Jane!
You and your boys would probably all benefit from some support through a service that specialises in domestic violence and in trauma and response. Your sons might – as well as this – benefit from some support through their school. Even if individual support through the school is not needed because they have other support, it can be important for the school to be aware in general of what they experienced and to ensure good communication with you, etc. Sometimes schools or youth organisations offer formal or informal mentors which might be worth considering.
This service although probably more focussing on children, could be a starting point for finding good trauma informed support and therapy in your area https://www.childhood.org.au/our-work/helping-children-heal/
This is a national DV and sexual assault service and they can help find services https://www.childhood.org.au/our-work/helping-children-heal/ and this link has services listed by state http://www.dvrcv.org.au/support-services
Depending what state you live in we might be able to find other options, but I hope these are starting points.
This site ‘What’s ok at home?’ has different content for different age groups and includes tips and a toolbox to help young people manage their feelings and stay safe. https://woah.org.au/
What support do you have for yourself, Jane? You mention your partner now is supportive, which is great to hear. If you can widen that circle in any way that sounds important. Workplaces often have employee assistance programs, parentlines can offer support and you can also directly contact eheadspace to talk further
As well as supports and your sons learning better ways of handling their feelings, sometimes an external service that helps with conflict and aggression is needed. One is called Reconnect https://www.dss.gov.au/families-and-children/programmes-services/reconnect This is a service funded by the federal government and delivered by different agencies around the country. They can help with things like counselling and mediation and the purpose of the service is to prevent family breakdown that might lead to homelessness.
• Another option you might consider is family therapy, but I suggest discussing all of these options with whoever you see in person as finding the best and most relevant service requires some thought and planning
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:50 pm
Juan
Participant
14th Mar, 7:50 pm
We are struggling with a range of issues at the moment. My psychiatrist is wanting to admit me because of my depression. I know this will impact my daughter who is 13 now, but what can I do?
Susan eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:50 pm
Hi Juan, Thanks for your question and I hope we can assist you. It sounds hard for you and those decisions are not easy to make. Sometimes having someone make a decision for us can be a relief too. But it’s important, and shows your concern as a parent, to be considering your daughter at the moment.
You might have already done so, but consider having a discussion with your psychiatrist to see if there are any other ways to get help for yourself apart from an admission. Part of their role is considering “less restrictive” treatment options so hopefully they will take what you have to say into consideration.
If possible talk with your daughter. Listen and allow her time to share her thoughts and feelings with you (It may be that she is already aware that things are not good and to know that you’re getting help will be a support to her.) This might not be the case, but the important thing is that we can make assumptions about how someone else is reacting or what they need. Ask your daughter what support she needs too perhaps?
It’s reasonable to ask your treating team about practical and therapeutic supports in your area, if you haven’t already been offered these. We have a range of links we’ll be posting that might give you some other ideas too.
If at the end of the day you go ahead with the admission maybe consider the possibility of having a family meeting with yourself, your daughter and your treating team (psychiatrist) beforehand. This will allow her the chance to ask any questions she might have in a safe informative environment. I would also suggest finding out about visiting hours and what the hospital policies are around children visiting you (they might say that you have to meet in a particular room for example). Encouraging your daughter to visit you when you are in hospital (if she is comfortable with this) will allow her to put any fears to rest about the realities of hospitalisation. Her imagination may not always be her friend and in this case knowledge is a powerful force in overcoming the more scary parts of imagination!
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:51 pm
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Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:57 pm
We've posted a lot of links today. They won't all be relevant to each of you but we try to post a range of material. We're contacted about many different issues across the country so our resources tend to represent that variety
Di eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:57 pm
Thanks to all those that participated with our group chat tonight .It has been really valuable to hear from you all.
Thanks again for your time..
Susan eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:58 pm
Thanks for visiting our group chat tonight! It was really nice meeting you all. I hope you have a relaxing evening.
Mich eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:58 pm
We’re about to finish the session today. Thanks everyone for participating and sharing your comments and questions. We really appreciate your contributions.

Thanks also to Rose Cuff, State-wide Coordinator of the FaPMI strategy (Families where a parent has a mental illness), a Victorian government initiative coordinated by The Bouverie Centre, for generously sharing resources and for the work she and the Bouverie Centre are doing in this area.

Claire
Participant
14th Mar, 7:59 pm
Thanks to you all at eheadspace
Di eheadspace
Moderator
14th Mar, 7:59 pm
Claire thanks for your kind words.
Take care of you and have a good night.