Looking after yourself and your family

Parents survival guide
Being a parent or carer can be hard work at times and if your child is experiencing emotional or behavioural problems it can be even harder. It’s easy to feel it’s somehow all your fault or that you can fix it by doing or saying the right things, but often all you can do is be there for your child and support them through the tough times. It’s important to look after yourself as well, seek advice from your GP if you’re struggling, or consider connecting with other parents who might be going through similar issues. There is lots of support and advice available and below you will find some of the very best websites for families, plus there are more resources in each of the topic sections.


  • YoungMinds Information A-Z and Parent’s Survival Guide 
  • Mind's Parent Pages
  • Mental health problems in children and young people : Guidance for parents and carers
  • MindMate is a website based in Leeds with an excellent section for parents and carers. The primary school and teenage sections are particularly good. Click here
  • Positive parenting guide - download free from NSPCC. A great guide with topics such as setting boundaries, keeping your cool, rewards and discipline and building positive relationshipsClick here
  • MindEd (free, but you need to log in to the families section) has sections on “Talking to my child or teenager”, “Keeping ourselves strong”, "Top parenting tips”, “Parenting in a digital world” and many more. https://mindedforfamilies.org.uk/young-people/
  • Relate website is an amazing resource with sections on step-families, parenting teenagers, gay parents, coping with separation and more. You can even chat to a counsellor for free on-line. Relate also offer face-to-face counselling (at a cost on a sliding scale depending on income) including family therapy. To see what's on offer click here

Looking after yourself

  • Moodzone: mental health support for you. Advice, interactive tools (like a mood assessment quiz), audioguides and real life stories here
  • Family Lives - top tips on looking after yourself and for a happier family.
  • Getting stressed and overwhelmed with being a parent? Check out this moodcafe leaflet. Read on-line or download.

Connecting with other parents

  • 'Hoop' App: find activities near you if you have children aged 0-11 years with this handy App https://hoop.co.uk
  • Find or start a Parents Support Group : This brilliant leaflet tells you how to find out if there is already a group in your area and, if not, how you might go about getting the support to start one of your own. Read more here .
    See also the @Rollercoasterparentsupport on Facebook who are based in County Durham but are beginning to help parents of children with mental health problems set up groups in other parts of the country.
  • Are you or your child lonely? Some tips for parents plus a search facility to find chat and play sessions near you with Action for Children here
  • Parenting courses are free and a great way to meet other parents. Find out more on this page


  • Parentchannel TV has many fantastic videos for all ages covering common parenting issues and advice for looking after yourself, your partner, bonding with your baby, communicating with your child, keeping your temper and so much more!  Each section has multiple videos so click down on the left side to see them all. Start here
  • Parenting is hard!

See also our counselling and parent support pages for Parenting Courses in your area and the Helplines page.

Support for brothers and sisters 

When someone is struggling with ill health of any kind, the needs of other family members are easily forgotten or sidelined and while that may be unavoidable, there is support available. Brothers and sisters may respond by seeking attention themselves, perhaps with difficult behaviour, but often they will seek to make life easier for you and may avoid burdening you with their own problems. 

Top Tip:When you can, set aside just a few minutes for other members of your family every day, to give them your undivided attention, making it clear that this is their protected time. It really made a huge difference in our family ‘ (Tom, parent)

Rethink Mental Health Charity have a page for parents including how to talk to your child about their concerns and also a page for siblings themselves and a siblings network- see below.

  • Information for parents ​​here
  • Information for siblings on this Childline page on "Supporting a famly member with a mental illness" (scroll down for a section on siblings) here

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