The human experience involves families and communities: we need one another to survive and grow because it’s impossible to do everything alone. This is especially true while going through life’s challenges and obstacles, such as raising a teen going through treatment.
A healthy support system can provide parents with a host of benefits, including:
- Boost your ability to cope with stress.
- Calm the negative effects of emotional distress.
- Provide hope and encouragement.
- Boost self-esteem.
- Encourage healthy choices.
- Increase chances of sticking to a treatment plan.
How to Build a Strong Support System
A support system is more than shoulder to cry on, it’s a network of people you can depend on either emotionally or practically. A strong support system is one that includes both a social network of people as well as medical professionals.
When it comes to a social network, you’ll need trusted friends, family, and peers you can rely on when times get tough. Ideally, you’ll have created these friendships during non-stressful times. Learn how to ask for help and allow people to provide you with comfort during those difficult times. This type of support could be anything from going out to coffee with a friend or talking to a family member over the phone.
Along with friends and family, there are professionals who can help you, too. A professional support group is one with teachers, doctors and medical professionals who you can rely on for advice and emotional support. A good family therapist, for example, has the tools to guide and empower you to make the right choices for you and your child.
You might also want to join a support group for parents. A support group is usually organized and led by a professional but opens the opportunity for you to share your experiences with others who are going through the same challenges you are — yet another reminder that you’re not alone.
Mental Health Support Groups for Parents
Your teen needs you, and you need a solid support system to get through this time.
Here, a list of mental health resources for parents with teens:
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Has a Family Support Group and provides a great article on Learning to Help Your Child and Your Family, along with other resources for parents.
Mental Health America: Offers an exhausted list of support groups as well as can help you find a support group near you.
THRIVE: An app created by Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine that gives parents a resource to help teens increase ownership over their own physical and mental health.
Center for Young Women’s Health and Young Men’s Health: Two information-packed websites for parents of adolescents. Includes guides on how to support children suffering from depression and eating disorders. http://youngwomenshealth.org/parents/ and http://youngmenshealthsite.org/parents/
HealthlyChildren.Org: Sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics, this website offers resources for parents of teens and young adults. https://www.healthychildren.org
National Institute of Mental Health: NIMA’s website provides parents of teens with helpful guides and brochures. http://www.nimh.nih.gov/
Teen Health: A website that helps parents support their child’s challenges and better understand their behavior. http://teenshealth.org/parent/emotions/
Teen Mental Health: Designed for teenagers, this website features learning tools on a variety of mental illnesses, videos, and provides resources for parents and caregivers. http://teenmentalhealth.org/care/parents/