Parent Mental Health Day takes place on Saturday 27 th January 2024 and aims to encourage understanding and awareness of the importance of parent mental health and its potential impact on the whole family system with the theme ‘Balance’. The day aims to get parents and carers to take a moment to reflect on the balance they have in their lives, as well as how they balance looking after their family’s mental health and to take steps to make positive change and ‘balance out’.

All parents face challenges, but you may face additional difficulties if you have a mental health problem. Mental health problems can vary in terms of how severe they are and how they affect you. You may need regular extra support or be fine for long stretches and have periods when you need more help. Or other stressful life experiences may make things more challenging: for example, money problems or a relationship breakdown can negatively affect your mental health.

Many parents with mental health problems can care for their children in a safe and loving way. But sometimes, you might need extra support from family, friends, or healthcare professionals to get you through difficult times. There’s no shame in needing extra help as a parent, whatever the reasons for it.

It can be hard to seek help as a parent. You might worry about being judged or tell yourself you must keep going on your own. Try not to put pressure on yourself to be a ‘perfect parent’. Remember, all parents have hard times, and there’s no shame in needing extra support.

Some of these ideas may help:

Take care of your mental health

This could mean eating well, making time for physical activity, giving up smoking, getting better sleep or talking to your GP about different treatment options.

Build a support network

Find people you can rely on for practical and emotional support. Tell them when you’re starting to find things difficult and tell them what you need, whether that’s help getting the children to school or booking a GP appointment.

Have a routine and stay organised

Sticking to regular times for mealtimes and bedtimes can help you feel more grounded and help your children feel more secure. Write down your family routines so other people supporting your family can provide continuity and a sense of security. As well as your children’s
daily and weekly routines, you could include their likes and dislikes. This can help you feel more in control if there are times you can’t be as hands-on.

Ask your employer about flexible working

Having a better work-life balance can help you manage working and parenting in a healthier

Seek help from your local authority

Your local authority has a duty to provide social care if your mental health means it’s hard to care for yourself or for your children. They can also support your children if they’re caring for you.

It can be hard to ask for help, and you may be afraid your children will be taken into care. This only happens in very exceptional cases whether neither you nor your partner, if you have one, can safely care for your children. Asking for help means you’re doing the best for your family and shows that you’re a good parent.

Your local authority will have supported lots of parents before you and will be experienced in the best ways to help you and your family. Asking for support could be a positive experience for you all.

If you need support for your mental health, we have lots of information on our website: where you can also self-refer into our services. You can also find other information and services on the NHS website: