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Many parents and carers of a child or young person with SEND, face physical, practical and emotional challenges everyday. With this in mind, we worked with a parent to provide advice and guidance on the different services and practical steps you can take to look after your mental health.

What can affect your mental health?

As a parent, experiencing negative emotions is a completely normal and healthy reaction to everyday challenges. It is important to remind yourself however that if you start to feel overwhelmed, it is okay to ask for help.

As a parent of a child or young person with SEND, factors that can affect your mental health are often intensified by the extra responsibilities and pressures in your day to day life. These factors include:

Our personal lives and relationships

Our family, relationships and the way we see ourselves all influence our mental health. Becoming a parent, and caring for a child or young person with SEND, often means that expectations, family dynamics and relationships change.

Seeking guidance and support on these changes can stop you from feeling alone.

Money, work or housing

Being able to live in, and provide, a safe and stable environment for ourselves and our family is a factor that can affect our mental health.

As a parent with a child or young person with SEND, there are services that can help you achieve this. There is no shame in seeking or claiming financial or physical support services available to you in order to help with home or lifestyle adaptations.

  • Balancing work and caring commitments can sometimes feel like an impossible task; find out what funding options are available to help support your family financially.
  • Find out about childcare and wraparound care options so that you can work or take essential breaks to re-charge.
  • If your young person with SEND receives direct payments, you may be eligible for home care support.
  • Preparing your child or young person for adulthood at an early age can help manage any anxiety you may have around this topic. You can find advice support and services to help you do just this on our Preparing for Adulthood pages.

Bereavement and grief

Losing someone we love or care deeply about can be emotionally devastating and can have a huge impact on our mental health.

Parents and families can also experience grief as a normal response to loss or change.

There are many services and groups in Hertfordshire that can offer bereavement and grief support.

 

Mind.org.uk have some great advice on when to start seeking help for your mental health.

Practical steps you can take to look after your mental health

Having good mental health helps us enjoy life more, relax and cope better with everyday challenges. Finding the right support and resources can help feel more in control of your mental health. Here are some practical steps you can take:

Talk about how you feel

There are many different people and organisations you can turn to for support with your mental health. There is no right order or best practice for this, feeling comfortable should be your priority when seeking support. You could talk to:

  • a family member, friend or colleague that you know and trust
  • your doctor (GP)
  • a trained therapist
  • a charity or organisation
  • online peer and support groups

It is always okay to ask for a different doctor or healthcare professional if you are unhappy with the service they are providing.

Utilise the services available to you

You shouldn't ever feel bad or embarrassed about using or applying for services that are available to you. These services are put in place to help people in unique situations, be it financially, physically or mentally.

Practical Resources

We know that being a parent leaves you with very little time to care for yourself, eat well and relax or recharge but when we are able to, it is important to try and achieve one or all of the above. The NHS offers practical resources practical resources on steps you can take to improve your mental health.

It is always okay to ask for support even if you aren't experiencing a specific mental health problem.

What services are available to you?

Hertfordshire's NHS Wellbeing Service

Self refer to Hertfordshire's wellbeing service. A service offering free and confidential talking therapy and practical support for Hertfordshire residents experiencing a wide range of mental health problems such as: worry, low mood and stress.

If you need urgent help, call Hertfordshire's Mental Health Helpline:

For out of hours advice and telephone support please call: 01438 843322

Mind's Peer Support

Find peer support in Hertfordshire with Local Mind. Local Mind's services include talking therapies, crisis helplines, drop-in centres, employment and training schemes, counselling and befriending.

Mind - Hertfordshire Network

Utilise Mind's essential mental health support in Hertfordshire. Mind provide a range of services including Wellbeing Centres and online courses.

If you are experiencing any form of mental health distress, call Mind Hertfordshire's Helpline for emotional support and signposting.

Call: 01923 256391

Rethink

Rethink recognise gaps in service provision and respond to these by developing and delivering services that provide high-quality care and support to people severely affected by mental illness.

Urgent help

If you are worried about your mental health and are in need of urgent help Samaritans have a free 24 helpline that you can call for confidential support.

Phone: 116 123

Whether you have been diagnosed with a mental health condition or just need support with your mental health, the NHS has pulled together a list of mental health helplines that are free to call.

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