Being able to talk about mental health and open up about how you are feeling is so powerful. It also has a ripple effect on everyone around you.
We are breaking down the stigma around mental illness through our life-changing programmes, like KidsTime.
A child whose parent or carer has a mental illness has about a 70% chance of developing mental health problems themselves. Let's break the cycle.
Nadine, a drama facilitator at KidsTime explains:
“My name is Nadine, and I’ve been working for the Mental Health Foundation as a drama facilitator on KidsTime, a fantastic programme specifically designed to help children whose parents are living with mental health problems.
“For these children, KidsTime offers a safe space to have fun, explore, and break down the taboo of mental illness. For their parents, it’s a way of doing something really positive for their children without shame, embarrassment, or fear of being judged for not being as good a parent as they could be.
“We’ve had quite a lot of parents with severe depression, OCD, or other serious diagnoses. In sessions, you’ll always hear children say, ‘Oh my God, that’s what my mum's got.’ And of course, anxiety is one of the big ones – affecting around 4 in 10 parents taking part.
“These parents are not alone in their anxiety. Our research into the impact of the cost-of-living crisis reveals that 34% of UK adults – more than one in three of us - are experiencing anxiety due to financial pressure. And we also know that children whose parents have a mental health problem are at greater risk of developing a mental health problem themselves.
“That’s why it’s so important for programmes such as KidsTime to carry on building relationships and resilience in families to help break that cycle. And it’s also why we’ve made anxiety the subject of this year’s Mental Health Awareness week (running from 15 to 21 May 2023), so that the wider public can find support to prevent their own problems from escalating or being passed on.
“Without your help, initiatives such as KidsTime simply could not get off the ground. And having seen how powerfully effective such programmes are, I find that almost unthinkable.
“By supporting us today, you could help to give KidsTime and other vital projects a chance to fly. And you could also play your part in ensuring that whatever else parents pass on to their children, a mental health problem needn’t be one of them.”
Why support programmes such as KidsTime?
Just ask mum and KidsTime participant, Bemi:
“My son was diagnosed with autism two years ago and that – along with a court case I’m going through and my own health issues with sickle cell and asthma – it made my mental health deteriorate.
“I wanted to disappear but I couldn't. As a parent, there's this guilt trip that just hangs over you that you can't let go of.
“We came to KidsTime because I really wanted my daughter to get away mentally and focus on something that would distract her and make her happier; to shift her focus onto something she would love and enjoy, so she could not be worried about what's going on at home.
“Now my daughter tells me everything! If I've upset her, she'll tell me. It has brought us closer, and I'm grateful for that.
“KidsTime gave my daughter tools and coping mechanisms and self-awareness. She is equipped to talk. And I speak to her about things as much as I can. She hears me saying to my friends there’s no shame in getting help.
“When I see my kids, I feel like I'm doing something right despite all that's going on in my life. They keep me going and with my daughter, I feel like she gets her strength from me. She sees that no matter what, I don't back down. You might knock me down for a few minutes or a few hours, but I stand up again.”
Bemi - mother and KidsTime participant
Poor mental health is a consistent mind battle which can make you feel isolated or misunderstood. It creeps in when you least expect it like an unwanted visitor.