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Who is ‘Our Time’?

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Our Time is a UK charity which develops interventions to support children and young people whose parents have a mental illness, based on increasing their resilience and reducing their risk of developing mental health problems in later life. Our Time advocates for these children and young people, and campaigns for their recognition within public policy and funding frameworks.
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The impact of parental mental illness on young people’s mental health is being increasingly recognised in research, but has not yet been addressed in systems of practise. Children of parents with a mental illness are at a much greater risk of mental and physical health inequalities in comparison to their peers. However, they are largely hidden from view due to the absence of national policy and provision for this group. As a result, many of them fall in the cracks of services and have to become ill themselves in order to get help. The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated these risks for children of parents with a mental illness, as it has drastically reduced access to safe spaces and support networks that help build their resilience.
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Research shows a rise in poor mental health among parents and carers as a result of COVID. This has been even greater for parents with existing mental illnesses. At the same time, access to services has been reduced by up to 80%. Consequently, many families find themselves socially isolated and at breaking points, with children and young people at the centre of this. The impact of the pandemic will be long-lasting on this group of children and young people, who may have experienced significant distress during the lockdown, as well as disrupted education.
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However, the good news is that small interventions can make a big difference for this group of children and young people. We pay our taxes. We go through our daily life thinking that we live in a civilised society. And yet people like you, children like you, can actually get left behind, can get forgotten about, which is why a charity like this is so important. What– how did it come into your life? And what role did it play? So my mum developed bipolar disorder when I was born. And as a result, her– she’s faced a lot of adversities. And we– I didn’t get to find out about KidsTime until around about when I was age 15.
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And it was a social worker who turned up at home, told us about KidsTime, the KidsTime workshop. And what you mentioned is really crucial. Because these young people are not the troublemakers. They are the ones who want to hide away. They are the ones silent and quiet. They’re withdrawn. They don’t want to share their feelings and their situations with other young people, of professionals. Because they worry that their families could get broken up. They’re worried about being bullied. They worry that they could be stigmatised by society. So they hide away. They shy away. So it takes, really, a trained eye, and a passionate and compassionate eye to spot these young people, and bring them in and include them.
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And when they come into the KidsTime space and you’re like, Connie said, I echo. That is something that I’ve experienced. And now supporting other children, I see– Because you’ve become a trustee of the charity? Yes. Yes, I have. I felt like I was amongst family and of people that really get it, people that pay attention to you and make you feel special, people that want you to share your feelings and what’s going on in your life without stigmatising you. I felt the compassion. I felt the love. I felt I was really free to share.
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For more information about Our Time’s work and interventions, as well as free resources for children and young people, professionals, and schools, visit www.ourtime.org.uk.

In this video, we outline the work of ‘Our Time’ and how they support families impacted by parental mental illness.

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How To Support Young People Living with Parental Mental Illness

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