It is only possible to provide good care to children and adolescents with psychological problems if the families are involved right from the start and recognised with all their individual needs for support and information.
Although "parental work" is often an integral component of the therapies offered, relatives often still feel that there are deficits, particularly in the period before diagnosis is made.
"… I am absolutely desperate at the moment and my nerves are in shreds. I’m sitting here crying and looking for some help on the Internet... I am 37 years old, married, with two daughters aged 10 and 6. My problem: my daughter Leonie is driving me to distraction!!! She can’t get up in the mornings although she goes to bed early. She spends quarter of an hour on the loo, dawdles cleaning her teeth, brushing her hair and getting dressed ... After school she just sits listlessly in front of her homework, utterly unable to concentrate and half under the table and doesn’t know what she is supposed to be doing. ... What should I do??? Do you have any advice for me??? What is her problem??? How can I help her, but myself too, because I am constantly stressed …!" (plea from a mother taken from the Internet)
These problems are familiar to many parents. You may be asking yourself:
Information can help dispel uncertainty.
That’s why the German Federal Association of Relatives of the Mentally Ill (BApK) has studied the problems and needs of families with psychologically troubled children and adolescents and has developed a range of offers for these families.
The support of the German Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) and the Federal Association of Company Health Insurance Funds (BKK Bundesverband) has facilitated this project.
In order to gain an initial overview of the needs of affected families, an online survey of parents was carried out in conjunction with the University of Marburg.
Here you can find an evaluation of the survey.
In conjunction with Martin Baierl, experienced therapist for children and adolescents and textbook author, the pamphlet "Weird Kids?" was created. This pamphlet offers affected parents an initial guide to mental disorders in childhood and adolescence, treatment options and possible sources of help and support. [more]
Other casualties of a young person’s psychological problems are always their siblings, whose distress is often insufficiently considered. The pamphlet "What’s the Matter with Philip?" has been created in an age-appropriate design especially for them. [more]
We have compiled detailed information on some common mental illnesses of childhood and adolescence which are also available to download. [more]
For parents who would like further information we have prepared a comprehensive list with
Recommendations for further reading
and lists of links to
Both the recommendations for further reading and the lists of links contain explanatory notes and have been compiled with the greatest of care. Nevertheless we must point out the following:
And one more tip:
Particularly in the field of mental illness there are unfortunately a great many websites and forums with questionable or dangerous content. For eating disorders in particular there are non-public forums in which sufferers can converse about their conditions and for instance encourage each other in their conviction not to accept help. If at all possible you should find out whether your children are active in such forums.