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Parental mental health and child wellbeing

For children and young people, their own mental health and the mental health of their parents has an impact on their safety and wellbeing. A parent experiencing mental illness or mental health difficulties does not automatically pose a risk of significant harm to their child. However, if a parent’s poor mental health is affecting how they function in their daily life and is not treated, it will likely have an impact on their child.

A parent’s mental illness can impact on a child in a number of ways depending on the type and severity of the illness. These impacts can include:

  • The child feels scared and perceives their world as being unpredictable.
  • The child is neglected due to not being fed or bathed.
  • The child’s development is affected as they are not provided with adequate stimulation.
  • The child is unable to learn or concentrate due to concern for their parent.
  • The child is parentified and learns to prioritise their parent’s emotional or physical needs above their own.
  • The child is physically harmed by their parent.

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