As a parent, in order to take care of your children, the most important thing is that you first take care of yourself. If you’re having any thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, or if you’re not feeling like yourself, there is help out there. You are not alone. If you are in crisis, below are resources you can contact to get help at any time.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800–273–8255) — free and confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Crisis Text Line (Text HOME to 741741) — free and confidential text conversation with a trained crisis counselor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- If you are currently experiencing a medical emergency or worried you may harm yourself or others, please call 911.
We’ve also compiled some common questions from parents about mental health.
How do I know if what I’m feeling is depression?
It can be difficult for parents to know if what they are feeling is a normal reaction to the many demands of parenting, or depression. The best way to find out if you’re experiencing depression, postpartum depression, or another mental health condition is to talk to your doctor. If you are a woman who has given birth in the last year, your Ob/gyn is a good place to start. Otherwise, you can start by talking to your primary care physician. If you don’t have a doctor you are comfortable contacting, the resources above like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline are free and available 24/7.
What are postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety?
It is normal to experience sadness or other strong emotions after childbirth as you experience a sudden drop in pregnancy hormones. If these feelings, commonly referred to as the “baby blues,” last longer than a couple weeks, then you might be suffering from postpartum depression (PPD) or postpartum anxiety (PPA). These conditions affect at least 10% of new moms and are best diagnosed and treated by a medical professional.
Will my kids get taken away if I seek help for depression?
No. Your children will not get taken away from you for seeking help. This is a common misconception that prevents parents, especially those suffering for postpartum depression or anxiety, from seeking help. One of the best things you can do for your children is to take care of your own health, including your mental health.
I’m worried about a friend, family member or loved one. What do I do?
The first step to helping a loved one with depression is to talk to them about your concerns. Let them know you’re worried and ask what you can do to help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can offer resources for finding help for your loved ones, as well as give you detailed instructions on how to care for someone in crisis.
What if I can’t afford help?
Many therapists and mental health professionals offer sliding scale payment options, meaning they can work with you to provide care at a price you can afford. The National Mental Health Alliance can also help with finding free or affordable mental healthcare across the United States via their helpline at 1–800–950-NAMI (6264). You can also dial 2–1–1, which is a helpline through United Way that offers referrals to free support groups and clinics throughout the U.S. and Canada.