When a parent has a mental illness...


Did you know that there are lots of children who have a parent who might take medicine for feeling sad, getting very angry for no reason, not wanting to join in with things or saying and doing strange things?

That may be because they have a mental illness. Did you know that 1 in 12 children has a parent who is unwell in this way? No-one really knows exactly what happens in the brain when people have an illness like this. The films below give an idea of what might be going on for some.


This is information, not advice. Please read our disclaimer.

About this information

This information reflects the best available evidence at the time of writing. Our mental health information for young people was written in 2017 and will be reviewed in 2020.

©  March  2017 Royal College of Psychiatrists

FILM: Tulisa - My Mum and me

An hour long documentary film about singer/songwriter Tulisa Contostavlos's life as a young child and teenager growing up with her mother who has schizoaffective disorder.

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When a parent has a mental illness...

This video features young carers talking about their lives caring for a parent with mental illness. Aimed at young carers, the video is narrated by Chineye and explains in a simple and visual way how the brain works and what happens when things go wrong. This video was produced by Dr Alan Cooklin with funds from the Royal College of Psychiatrists' Images of Psychiatry Campaign. Download the wmv file (right-click button and "Save As").

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