Community Leader, Change Maker and Advocate for Parents of Children with Poor Mental Health
When my teenage daughter became suicidal in 2015, it was by far the darkest time of my life. But it gave me an opportunity to reflect on my values, my parenting and what was really important and out of adversity grew the most wonderful connections and change.
I developed the Partnering not Parenting approach to help parents change their communication and behaviour to better support their child and themselves through this extraordinary time. You can read more about it in my book, Never Let Go – How to Parent Your Child Through Mental Illness ( you can buy the book here or audiobook read by me here!) or through my course – either self study at your own pace or with a community of other parents going through similar things plus Live training sessions with me. I’m excited that the next course starts on April 25th 2022.
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 digital 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 26,000 families around the world to cope better with the challenges of poor mental health. My book ‘Never Let Go – How to Parent Your Child Through Mental Illness’ was published and I was also honoured to win the Digital Mother of the Year award.
In 2022, 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 the power of the parent to be recognised as a key part of the solution in tackling adolescent mental illness. And I hope to work with more enlightened organisations who understand the impact parenting a child with a mental health issue has on the whole family.
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, Partnering not Parenting, speaking opportunities, community consulting or other creative collaborations.
Or changing the world. I’m always up for a chat about that!
PS If you want to support the work of the charity Parenting Mental Health, I’m doing a half marathon ( most definitely walking it!) on April 3rd – any donations will be so gratefully received. Thank you.
You can email me suzanne at parenting mental health dot com
Recognised as one of the world’s most meaningful community leaders by Facebook
Participated in a series of video trainings on Public Narrative and its role in driving change and growth in community
Digital Mother of the Year – winner 2020
Digital Community Leader of the Year – Runner Up 2020
Speaker at Facebook’s conference for its staff across EMEA
Selected to participate in Facebook’s Global Community Accelerator having demonstrated impact and capacity to scale
Selected as one of the Women of the Year, sponsored by Barclays 2019
Speaker at Facebook’s global series on Parenting
Consultant for the Your Digital Family Program, to facilitate better conversations about tech in families.
Speaker and panel host
Voted best speaker at the festival
Training volunteers on how to use Facebook for good
One of 4 communities selected globally to take part in a community pilot of the Dove Self Esteem project
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].