Our Time has been a major life saver for me and my family. I am a single mum of three young children, 10-year-old Eve, four-year-old Gabby, and Jacob who is one and a half. I have battled with depression and other mental health issues from a very young age and always tried to get help and support through my GP, hospital, friends and family. I have had depression medications, support from social services and other one-on-one support, but sadly none of these methods were long-term help.
Just before the summer holidays, I was referred to a KidsTime Workshop along with my three children. As I also suffer with anxiety and panic attacks, travelling to a workshop would never have been an option for me. Luckily, Our Time provided the kids and I with cabs to take us to and from the centre, enabling me to go.
The workshops provided me with support, care and understanding in a non-judgemental environment, in which I have been able to express my emotions, problems and behaviour to people who have been in my situation, that can relate to and advise me, alongside professional help. Our Time has also supported and aided my children in understanding what mental illness means. It’s made it easier for the kids to understand how it affects me and why I sometimes act or behave in a certain way. This has helped my oldest child Eve to gain a better understanding of how to support me and not to be ashamed, embarrassed or scared about my illness.
All my kids have benefited from KidsTime Workshops but Eve, being the oldest, has experienced and been affected my illness the most. She has grown so much, especially in confidence, becoming more open and willing to discus her feelings towards my illness, what it means to her and how she is perceived by others.
We have all become a major part of KidsTime Workshops. I have gained lots of friends and my kids have gained lots of friends who can relate to living with a parent or family member with a mental illness. We look forward to continue growing as a family through KidsTime Workshops.
I have learnt about Our Time’s schools programme ‘Who Cares?’ at its launch and the Funding Network presentation. ‘Who Cares?’ seems to take all that we have valued at KidsTime Workshops and offer it to children through their schools. This is an ideal development and I fully support it. It is the only way to make a long term difference to the many children of parents with mental illness.
*Names in this post have been changed to protect the individuals.