Mental Health and Parenthood
If you want to learn more about this topic, contact Angela Larimer at 773-370-0600 or email. Angela at email@example.com.
“Mental Health” sounds like such a blanket-statement for a topic…doesn’t it? We as a society tend to either discuss it in broad terms or we consider it a taboo topic. Why should we talk about mental health and parenthood? It seems like it would be important but do we even know what that looks like?
Mothers and fathers handle mental health and parenthood very differently. Sometimes we fail to recognize that mental health problems can either stem from tragedy and loss (i.e., divorce, death in the family, health issues, injury, job loss etc…) or from generational mental health illnesses. For instance, depression, mania or even bipolar disorder could be something that runs in one's family tree and only occurred during times of crisis for certain family members. It could have been easily overlooked and never treated properly. Mental health issues can be a medical condition and can always be treated with therapy or even with the combination of therapy and medication. Depression is an example of something that one could have been experiencing due to a medical condition or simply just due to the overwhelming stress and angst of handling and coping with parenthood after divorce.
Regardless of the root of where it stems from, mental health is something that should be addressed with everyone. As a parent, EVEN IF you have NEVER dealt with mental health issues in the past, it is important to do a check-in with yourself. How are you feeling after the divorce? How are you managing co-parenting? How are you coping with adjusting to being alone after being married to your partner? If you are with someone new, are you taking your stress out on your new partner? Have you found healthy coping mechanisms? How are your children handling the changes which have occurred in your home? Have you done a mental health check-in with them too? These are all important questions to ask yourself when self reflecting on this topic.
While it may not always be comfortable to admit that we need help…sometimes that is exactly what we need. You do not need to tell anyone that you are even going to seek help for yourself, but if you are feeling depressed, overwhelmed, overly irritable or angry, sometimes therapy is the best remedy. There is no shame in any parent seeking out therapy or even medication as treatment. If anything, parents benefit from therapy more than anyone else because parents are literally raising the next generation of youth who will lead our society next. Why not seek some outside guidance? Why not speak to someone?
There is nothing wrong with picking up the phone and calling to make an appointment, EVEN IF it is just to do a quick ‘mental health check-in’ with a professional. What is the worst that can happen? You might learn a new tool or skill? You might feel better about your circumstances? You might gain outside resources to improve yourself as a parent and as an individual? Sometimes we don’t even know what type of help we need. Maybe we don’t need medication, maybe we just need someone to talk to, such as a therapist or a social worker. Maybe we don’t need any of those options and we just need a support group to be able to have to go to once in a while. Sometimes committing to a weekly therapy session might be too much pressure but attending a support group without a set schedule might be more helpful for our needs.
Below are a list of Chicagoland resources, feel free to browse the internet and do your own research as well! Remember we all can make room to check-in on our mental health and make room for improvements in our day to day lives as parents!
Resources: NAMI Chicago (2022) Mental Health Hotlines
Web Retrieved: https://www.namichicago.org/resources
Anxiety Professionals of Illinois (2022) Web Retrieved: https://www.anxietyprofessionalsofillinois.com/
Chicago Therapy Solutions (2022)
Web Retrieved: https://chicagotherapysolutions.com/counselors
Neighborhood Parents Network of Chicago (2022) Web Retrieved: https://www.npnparents.org/parenting
PsycHealth Services Inc. (2021)
Web Retrieved: https://psychealthinc.com/child-parent-relationship-therapy/
Tuesday's Child (2022)
Web Retrieved: https://www.tuesdayschildchicago.org/behavioral-intervention-program/