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I am struggling to cope with my child’s illness. Where can I get support?

When you are supporting a child or youth with a mental health challenge or substance use problem, it can be overwhelming. But, it is important to remember that most mental health challenges and disorders can be treated. It is also important to remember that you are not alone. There are many resources and places to find support that will help you get through this.

Talk with a friend, a counsellor, a peer support worker, or someone you trust that can listen from their heart. Also give yourself permission to focus on your own self-care too - you can support your child best if you are taking care of your wellbeing.

Here are some suggestions that you may find helpful:

  • Connect with our parent peer support workers at the Kelty Centre. You can learn more about who the FamilySmart Parent Peer Support Workers are at the Kelty Centre, and what they offer. They know what it’s like because they’ve been there too and can help things feel more manageable. They can share experiences, offer suggestions, and help you find resources and supports. You can also check to see if there is FamilySmart parent peer support in your community.
  • Ask your child’s care team (e.g., doctor, counsellor, teacher, etc.) for options. They often know a lot about what resources are available to you, and your family, including parent support groups.
  • Seek counselling for yourself, not just your child. This can help you cope with demands in your life and learn ways to better support your child. Look for a private Registered Psychologist or Registered Clinical Counsellor. You can also look into free virtual counselling sessions offered by Foundry Virtual if your child is between 12-24 years and Wellness Together Canada.
  • Connect with parent groups. There might be a support group in your community that’s specific to your child or youth’s mental health or substance use challenge. Other groups also offer parent support like the Boys and Girls club. And there are groups that offer support for different mental health challenges and disorders such as the BC Schizophrenia Society and Autism Speaks.
  • If you are interested in learning some different parenting skills for supporting mental health challenges, there are a few free programs available in BC. You can also call the Parenting Support Line 1-877-345-9777 (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm) or register for their online parenting support circles.
  • If you’re comfortable, let close friends or family know a little bit about what is going on. You do not need to go into specifics, but if you let those closest to you know that you are struggling, it gives them a chance to offer help and support.
  • Try and accept help when it is offered. Friends and family may offer to drop off meals, have play dates, babysit siblings while you attend appointments, etc. It can be difficult to accept help like this, but it really can make a difference and it's okay to accept it.

Your network and community can support your own well-being and help lighten a heavy load. Learn more about support systems and asking for help in the Building a support network and community section.

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Through real stories, expertise, and practical tips, this podcast helps families promote their mental health and wellness, navigating important topics to meet you where you are in your journey.