Fears stop parents with mental health issues seeking help

Herald Sun 23 August 2012
Almost half of all parents with a mental illness have failed to seek help because they feared losing custody of their child. Even more – 64 per cent – said they would resist going to hospital because of concern for their child, and almost half do not have a care plan for their child if they become unwell or need medical help, according to a study by the national mental health charity SANE Australia. The survey of 330 parents with a mental illness found only about a third had told their child’s school they had a mental illness, and half of these found the disclosure unhelpful, leading to stigmatising and in some cases, bullying of their child. “It is unacceptable that in 2012, people are too embarrassed to say they have a mental illness,” said SANE Australia chief executive Jack Heath. “Not only is this unfair to the parent, it is also unfair to their child, whose health and education can suffer as a result.”