Support for Parents of Bipolar Children: Where to Find It
No one would say that parenting a child with bipolar disorder is a walk in the park and reaching out for support for parents of bipolar children can be critical for the wellness of both the parents and the child. Initially, parents may not want to reach out for support because they feel there is stigma against having a child with bipolar and may even feel like it’s their fault. However, support for parents of children with bipolar disorder can help parents realize that a child’s bipolar disorder is not their fault and the stigma is something that can be fought.
Parents Need Support When Parenting a Bipolar Child
Parents have a hard job. Raising a new human being is never easy. But when that child has a severe mental illness, the process gets even more challenging. And parents often feel alone with this challenge. It often seems like they are the only ones who understand the challenge and they are fighting this battle alone.
But this isn’t true. Support for parents of a bipolar child is available and getting it can be like a light in the darkness.
Benefits of Reaching Out for Bipolar Child Parenting Support
Because parents with a bipolar child are having parenting experiences with which others may not identify, it’s critical to seek out other parents having the same types of experiences. These shared parenting experiences can start to create a community so that parents don’t feel so alone. This type of community can support a parent through the challenges of parenting a bipolar child. Not only can they hear about issues and identify with them, but they may have ideas on how to handle tough situations. These communities are often found in support groups for parents of bipolar children.
Additionally, these is a stigma against having a child with a serious mental illness. Others may look at you and assume you are a bad parent because your child is having such behavioral issues. Others may judge you and assume that mental illness in children doesn’t really exist. Reaching out for bipolar child parenting support can help you find the strength to fight this stigma and these misguided ideas. It’s like having an army of other parents behind you, supporting you.
And it’s important to remember that a bipolar child can affect the family as a whole and support can help the entire family.
Where to Find Bipolar Child Parenting Support
Parents of bipolar children can reach out in many ways. The first place to start is normally the treating doctor. Others who can help include:
- Mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers or mental health counselors
- Health maintenance organizations
- Community mental health centers
- Hospital psychiatry departments and outpatient clinics (emergency room doctors may be able to provide temporary assistance and point towards other resources)
- Mental health programs at universities or medical schools
- State hospital outpatient clinics
- Family services, social agencies, or clergy
- Peer support groups
- Private clinics and facilities
- Employee assistance programs
- Local medical and/or psychiatric societies
Find these bipolar child parenting support resources by Googling your area plus the above. Also, contacting your local National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) can be very helpful as they can point you towards specific, local resources. See here for NAMI’s information for family members and caregivers and also their search tool to find a local NAMI support group. They exist in most medium and large cities across the United States.
Last Updated: 08 November 2017
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD