“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.”
– Workshop participant
An estimated 3.4 million children and young people in the UK live with or care for a parent with a mental illness. For many young people, this can be an emotionally overwhelming experience, leaving them feeling confused and isolated, and can potentially impact on their mental wellbeing in later years.
Unlike many other countries around the world, the UK doesn’t officially recognise children and young people affected by parental mental illness. But Our Time is fighting for these young people to get the help they need and have their voices heard.
In 1999, at a key national conference called Keeping the Family in Mind, a group of young people delivered an angry, passionate presentation about what it meant to be a child caring for a parent experiencing mental illness without support. Our Time was established in 2000 as a response to this impassioned plea. We became a registered charity in 2012 to formalise our ongoing work.
Our Time leads the movement towards a positive future for young people affected by parental mental illness.
We will create supportive environments for young people affected by parental mental illness where they can receive explanations about their parent’s condition, build resilience, have fun and be heard.
- Identify and provide explanation-based interventions to children affected by parental mental illness
- Inform and train education and healthcare professionals to identify and support children affected by parental mental illness
- Lobby for proper recognition of children affected by parental mental illness and their needs
- Work with groups such as peers, parents and the general public to build understanding of the needs of children affected by parental mental illness