My role and responsibilities
I feel a bit lost in my responsibilities. I don’t know if I’m doing too much or not enough.
The transition to adulthood is a critical time in the care of a parent living with a mental illness. LaPProche, in collaboration with CAP santé mentale, has created a guide called When Your Parent Has a Mental Illness: Tips and Stories from Young People of Quebec. Created by and for young people in this situation, it contains stories, practical advice and information to support their well-being. Here are some excerpts :
It’s important to recognize and accept your limitations: no one is invincible, and stress is not a sign of weakness! The most important thing is finding your comfort zone in the support you offer your parent. The problem is when the burden gets too heavy! It’s important to find balance between helping your parent and living your own life. Taking a break and time for yourself while knowing that your parent is in good hands is important for your own health.
Remember : Each member has a role to play within the family. Your parent’s role is not interchangeable with your own. It’s important to set boundaries regarding your responsibilities and discuss them with your parent.
I can’t talk about it with my parent, what should I do?
Communicating with your parent is essential!
It may seem difficult, but you could simply start the conversation by talking about your concerns, like: “Dad, you seem really tired lately and I’m concerned. What’s going on?” Try to have a conversation when things are going well at home and no one is discouraged or angry. Remember, talking to your parent about mental illness will not solve all your problems.
You might be afraid of upsetting your parent by talking about these things, but they will feel better when they understand what you are going through.
How to maintain good mental health
There are many ways to maintain good mental health despite life’s challenges. Know that you don’t have to implement all of these ideas to have good mental health. Some will be more appropriate than others depending on your situation, and it is important to use your judgement.
- You can download the guide and fill out the self-assessment questionnaire at the end to identify what you are already doing as well as new ways to help you feel good and find balance in your life, despite the adversity.
- Be careful of what you read on the internet, as a lot of the information may be incorrect. There are sites that use reliable data. On the last page of the guide, you will find many free, useful resources.
Know that it’s normal to feel all sorts of emotions, have questions and not know what to do. “Don’t hesitate to ask for help. I know you’re doing it on your own, but sometimes a little help goes a long way!” -A young person who helped created the guide.
Source : Villatte, A., Piché, G., Habib, R. (2020). When Your Parent Has a Mental Illness: Tips and Stories from Young People of Quebec. Université du Québec en Outaouais: LaPProche Laboratory, 52 p.