Charity stem4 is encouraging parents to find balance after two challenging years with DadSpace offering men in Kent an outlet
Exhausted parents need to find more balance in their daily lives to improve and protect their own well being, after a difficult two years raising a family in the midst of a global pandemic, say mental health experts.
Those behind today's this week's first ever Parent Mental Health Day insist now is the time for adults to regain some equilibrium and support their own health while continuing the juggle they have to meet the ongoing needs of those around them.
Charity stem4 which supports teenagers and the young, hopes to shine a light on the importance of parent mental health and the huge impact and ripple effect it can have on a whole family.
After a demanding two years for households across the country with the boundaries between home, work and school often blurred as a result of ongoing restrictions and isolation rules, adults - say stem4 - need reminding that while supporting their children and teenagers is important, their own well being needs regular attention too.
The charity explains: "The past two years have been like no other, with huge impact on young people’s mental health. With ever-changing restrictions, uncertainties, multiple roles, health, educational, economic and social impact, it is easy for parents and carers to overlook their own mental health as they juggle daily tasks.
"Parent Mental Health Day is here to shine a light on the unsung heroes who have parented under changed circumstances throughout the pandemic, but now need some focus on themselves.
"By getting parents, carers and employers engaged in discussions, PMHD aims to challenge the stigmas surrounding parents’ mental health and start a discussion about how they are coping."
Stem4 is encouraging parents and carers to look at their day-to-day lives and explore how small changes might 'tip the balance' to ensure looking after their family is not at the expense of their own well being.
'Don't tell us to 'man up''
A Maidstone dad who noticed he was struggling, and starting to drift apart from his wife following the birth of their second child, has set up his own support group in a bid to help other fathers.
Denver King admits he didn't know where to turn or how best to help his partner.
The 43-year-old from Loose created DadSpace towards the end of last year and already has hundreds of followers on social media.
The group meets regularly for coffee or a walk and gives expectant and experienced dads a chance to share their feelings and concerns or just listen to others.
The next meet-up is taking place at the Rockin Robin pub in Barming on Saturday, January 29 from 10am.
Consultant clinical psychologist and stem4 founder Dr Nihara Krause has also put together 10 tips, which she suggests can help parents find some balance and avoid the feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion which can come from the daily grind.
Designed to be simple, manageable small changes that may go on to have a bigger impact on everyone's quality of life - suggestions for parents include ranking tasks in order of their importance when they feel overwhelmed, scheduling regular downtime with family in the form of walks or games and taking more time for themselves even if this initially is only a longer shower or some time in the car alone listening to their favourite music.
Dr Krause's advice also encourages grown-ups to talk about how they feel with others in order to offload.
She explains: "Talk to someone you feel close to about how you feel.
"Admitting to feeling out of balance is often a relief and can help challenge feelings of failure, especially if you have very high standards for yourself."
For more information from stem4 click here.