I am a mom of kids with mental illnesses. Yup – read that again.
This is a difficult statement to say out loud. It was a difficult statement to type out. To say that I have completely processed these diagnoses for my kids would be a lie. I am still processing and learning how to effectively help each kid with their mental illnesses.
Do I accept the diagnoses? YES because mental illness runs on both sides of our families.
Do I know what I’m doing? NO but I’m determined to learn and create a space where I can help them manage their mental illness. Then ultimately, send them into the world more empathetic and aware of themselves.
Teen mental illness in on the rise
Teens and young adult suicides are on the rise. Everyday stressors such as school, friendships, and extra curricular activities can cause mental distress. Especially, if the teen or young adult have compacted schedules with no ability for self care or things they enjoy. An unspoken stressor in the Filipino community is cultural beliefs. These stressors are not new but the way families deal with mental distress is the huge difference between young Filipinos and their cohorts.
In the Asian community, according to the APA, suicide was the second leading cause of death for Asian-Americans aged 15-34. The major barriers for immigrant Filipinos and Filipino Americans are the negative perceptions of the use of mental health services and the perception of the person dishonoring their family by asking for help. This, in turn, halts the conversation between generations causing even more mental distress to those who need the help but do not reach out for services.
Why is all of this information important? It is imperative that we engage with our teens and build a relationship away from the screens. We, as parents, are the first teachers of how our children interact with the world. In a future post, I will share our family’s experience with mental health and how we go about our daily lives.
Mental distress is real in young adults and teens. If you are in fear that your teen or young adult is having mental health issues you can take a mental health screening here. If you are young adult or teen you can also take the screening yourself here.
Moms supporting moms
This series will focus on parenting a child with mental illness. I will also share an experience from a mom whom has a child with special needs and sensory issues. What I can say about her is that she a Christ follower and probably the strongest women I’ve met on this journey. Come along on this journey with us as we unpack a small part of our lives supporting our brave kids.
Have you experienced an inability to talk about mental health with you family?
Remember – it’s ok to not be ok because tomorrow is a new day!