Suzanne Alderson

Community Leader, Change Maker and Advocate for Parents of Children with Poor Mental Health

Hello, I’m Suzanne

I’m passionate about supporting parents of young people with poor mental health, changing the way we approach the mental health of young people, and about creating communities of impact and change.

When my teenage daughter became suicidal in 2015, it was the darkest time of my life. But out of adversity grew the most wonderful connections and change.  

In 2016, appalled by the lack of support for parents of young people with mental health issues or acknowledgement of the scale of the challenge, I started a community. I wanted other parents going through what I was experiencing to have the kind of space I’d needed – judgement free, safe, understanding, compassionate and full of hard won lived experience. I wanted them to feel the kind of empathy that can be in short supply when your child suffers with poor mental health. I wanted them to understand the vital role parents have to influence the severity and duration of a child’s mental illness. I needed them to know they weren’t alone. There was help and there was hope. 

And through this, I was reminded of the power of community to connect, challenge and change us individually and collectively; of the power of language to influence behaviour; and how we can be on different sides of the world, from different backgrounds, with different opinions and still be kind and still belong together. 

In 2018, Facebook acknowledged my work and named me one of the world’s most meaningful community leaders, awarding me a Fellowship.

In 2019, I signed a publishing contract with Penguin RandomHouse.

In 2020, I received charity status for Parenting Mental Health and we supported over 20,000 families around the world to cope better with the challenges of poor mental health. My book ‘Never Let Go’ was published and I was also honoured to win the Digital Mother of the Year award.

In 2021, I intend to continue to support families battling mental illness and build a bigger network of change that includes policy makers and healthcare professionals. I want to help and support organisations to understand the power of community and how it impacts and influences interaction, and to help them grow positive, impactful spaces. 

Can you help me, or can I help you?

Get in touch if you think we should speak, or if you’d like to discuss Parenting Mental Health, community consulting, speaking opportunities, or other creative collaborations.

Or changing the world. I’m always up for a chat about that!

Projects

A proven community builder, leader and communicator, focussed on impact and engagement.

Speaking & Awards

An inspirational speaker, Suzanne is at home in front of intimate audiences as well as at events with thousands of people. Passionate, experienced, open and genuinely moving, she skilfully shares her personal story and intertwines it with important themes - overcoming adversity, the everyday challenges of parenting and mental health and building and scaling community.
Facebook Community Leadership Program

Recognised as one of the world’s most meaningful community leaders by Facebook

Facebook Public Narrative series

Participated in a series of video trainings on Public Narrative and its role in driving change and growth in community

Digital Women

Digital Mother of the Year – winner 2020

Digital Community Leader of the Year – Runner Up 2020

Facebook 1EMEA

Speaker at Facebook’s conference for its staff across EMEA

Facebook Accelerator

Selected to participate in Facebook’s Global Community Accelerator having demonstrated impact and capacity to scale

Women of the Year

Selected as one of the Women of the Year, sponsored by Barclays 2019

Facebook & NHS Horizons COVID event
Facilitator and contributor to a training session on navigating COVID for Community Leaders
Facebook Community Connect 2020

Speaker at Facebook’s global series on Parenting 

Facebook and Instagram Your Digital Family program

Consultant for the Your Digital Family Program, to facilitate better conversations about tech in families. 

Live Life Well Wellbeing festivals

Speaker and panel host 

Yestival

Voted best speaker at the festival

Jo Cox Foundation

Training volunteers on how to use Facebook for good

Unilever

One of 4 communities selected globally to take part in a community pilot of the Dove Self Esteem project 

Certified Mental Health First Aider
Kaleidoscope Plus Group Charity
Ambassador
Facebook Community Manager
awarded to candidates who demonstrate a foundational proficiency in community-building strategies, and knowledge of the skills and tools needed to lead, moderate, and engage an online community.

Wellbeing for Parents in the Workplace

Parents of children with poor mental health often have a very difficult time reconciling the demands of their career and their child. In a recent survey of 400 PMH parents, 19% said they had to quit work to look after their child.

Those that remain at work have their ability to concentrate effectively severely compromised by worry. As part of my work in the Workplace Wellbeing sector we help companies identify parents in need and provide wellbeing pathways. These pathways are tailored to the needs of the parent and help improve their own mental health, their communication with their child, as well as help them optimise the relationships with their child’s doctors, schools and specialists.

For more information on how to help the parents of children with poor mental health in your organisation, email me at [email protected].

Thoughts & Ideas

Articles, ramblings, and selected Gratitude posts from my daily practice in the Parenting Mental Health community