Taking Care of the Children of the Mentally Ill


Here are some things you can do to help a child understand and cope with mental illness.

Some protective or positive facts that can decrease the risk to children include:

  • Tell the child they are not to blame for a parent's mental illness
  • Enlist all family members to provide extra support for the child.
  • Keep the home environment as stable as is possible.
  • Consider therapy for both the children and the person who is mentally ill.
  • Tell the children their ill parent loves them.
  • Encourage positive self esteem in the children.
  • Build good coping skills in the child
  • Make sure there is a strong relationship with a healthy adult.
  • Encourage outside friendships and relationships with healthy adults.
  • Show interest in and encourage outside activities.
  • Improve the family environment (for example, marital counseling or parenting classes)