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A whole family approach

When my dad was having episodes, we, like, we spoke the least about it then. When the doctors used to come and take her into hospital, we never knew what was going on. I think other people felt that we were either causing her mental illness, or we could get a mental illness from my mum. The moment I was diagnosed with it, I wasn’t– I had no friends. I was alone. I couldn’t do anything I wanted to do. I couldn’t sleep at night. So that’s the reason why I used to go into school tired. And because I was so busy thinking about all these negative feelings, I wasn’t eating properly. So it was just affecting my weight.
And I realised that, once I did start talking about it, I managed to sleep, because I used to put all those feelings to rest. It’s not happening now, but it did happen before with the old medication.
At the time, I didn’t realise that, you know, being there was helping me. I thought initially that it was helping my mum.
So the drama was just very simple, but you learn a lot from that drama, from the discussions that even came out of the drama. So and also the professionals there, you know they came down to your level. And they would explain things using appropriate language. I was encouraged to speak up. So, therefore, I was able to speak to my family members, who would say things that didn’t make sense, that were untrue about mental illness. So I was able to, you know, speak, feeling sure that, no, this is what mental illness is. So I knew at that time I was learning a lot.
I knew at the time, I knew, you know, what to do, the numbers to call if there was a crisis. But looking back, one of the benefits was talking. You know, talking was the therapy. I didn’t know I was getting therapy. That was good therapy. I was listening to other people, getting some ideas from other people, and having the opportunity to share what’s in my mind, to talk about what’s stressing me out. You get in therapy, but in a less pressurising environment, in a calm environment, in a safe environment, in a nonjudgmental environment, and you’re more inclined to talk about it, because you hear other people talking about it freely.
It’s so simple. But it’s really powerful. And it has a long-lasting effect, because if you can put those things right when a child is young, it is less likely that that child would develop a mental illness or depression.

In this video, we see the experiences of families who take part in the KidsTime workshops.

Please post your thoughts on these discussion points using the comments section.

  • What are the key benefits of the KidsTime approach?
  • What makes this approach unique compared to other approaches you may have come across?
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How To Support Young People Living with Parental Mental Illness

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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