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About us

​​Our Time supports children who have a parent or guardian with a mental illness.

For many young people, growing up with a parent struggling with their mental health can be a difficult and overwhelming experience. It is often isolating, confusing – even frightening. It can bring with it immense responsibility, and also stigma. But with the right support and understanding these young people can go on to lead happy and fulfilling lives – just like any other child. This is our ambition.

At the moment, as many as 1 in 3 children have a parent with poor mental health. Around 1 in 10 live with an adult with severe mental health difficulties. Given the impact of the pandemic on adult mental health, it’s likely the numbers of children affected are even higher. These are the young people we work to help.

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“At home you have to be an adult – look after mum, look after the house, give her medication – at Our Time’s workshops you’re having fun. You’re being looked after and you’re not looking after others.”

– KidsTime Workshop participant

How does Our Time help?

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Somewhere to turn to

When life at home is unpredictable or troubling, it’s important for young people to have somewhere to go that’s safe and supportive. Within family workshops, schools and holiday clubs, we create environments where children can ask questions, learn about their parent’s mental health difficulties and explore their own feelings, using games, activities and drama. We help these young people to realise they are not alone.

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Skills and knowledge

Many of the adults that come into contact with young people who have a parent with a mental illness do not know how to help and sometimes don’t recognise the need. We make sure professionals – whether in schools, the health service or the community –  have the best skills and knowledge to help these young people thrive. 

Illustration of workshop participants doing drama

Confidence and fun!

All our work is designed to help young people grow in confidence. Through our workshops and projects, they build the resilience and strength to live full and happy lives despite the challenges they face. But they also make friends, find a supportive community and have fun.

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A better future

We’re also working to secure greater recognition, understanding and help for these children and young people by engaging, supporting and championing their needs at local and national level.

Our flagship programmes

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KidsTime Workshops

Throughout the UK, we train teams to run workshops with families that have a parent with a mental illness. These give children and their parents a safe, supportive and relaxed space, where young people can explore their feelings and experiences; and their parents can speak openly, connect with others and focus on being parents, rather than patients.

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Schools

We work with schools to help them recognise and support children who have a parent with a mental illness, and promote a positive school culture around mental health. Our Time offers lessons and training for schools so that staff feel confident and able to support children, emotionally and practically, when they need it.

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Professional development

Through our expert training and resources, professionals are empowered to support young people, and talk to them about their situations, without requiring them to become counsellors or therapists. Partnerships are critical to Our Time, so we regularly collaborate with other specialists to make sure we’re providing relevant, high quality material and reaching the right people.

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International expertise

Our Time is part of an international network of experts in this field who share research and new ways of supporting this group. We are expert advisors in an EU Erasmus project, which is funding pilot schools programmes in Iceland, Spain and Germany. We work in partnership with charities and mental health organisations in these countries, providing training and consultancy to enable them to replicate our work.

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Every donation we receive goes towards changing the lives of children and young people.
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