If you’re a parent with a mental illness, or if someone in your  family is mentally ill, you may struggle with how to talk about it with  your children. Even thought it can be difficult, it’s important to create a safe space for kids to hear and ask questions about the illness that affects you or your partner.
Opening  up about mental illness can also help kids feel comfortable talking  about their own mental health.
Last updated: 28 Jan 2013Views expressed are those solely of the writer and have not been reviewed.
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Kids are usually well aware that  something is going on when a parent has a mental illness. But when depression is talked about as openly as diabetes, or when a dad with schizophrenia feels comfortable asking his daughter how she feels about his illness, stigmatization is decreased, and kids feel safer. A 13 year old who hears the term depression talked  about in an open way is more likely to tell her mom that she feels  depressed than if her only knowledge of depression came from TV ads. How  you handle your mental illness will set the stage for how they will  think of their own thoughts and feelings, and those of the people around  them. The Places pack contains 97 named images so they can be searched to find the emoji you need. Even casually noting that you’re seeing your therapist on  Monday may be enough to create a safe space for a child to talk about their fears.

They may feel like no one else understands what it’s like to  have a parent with a mental illness. Teenagers may wonder if they will develop mental illness as they get older, or worry about the safety of the adults who care for them. This is a good  opportunity to talk about early signs of depression or mania or anxiety, and mention how you are taking care of yourself.

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