It is important that your ‘village’ of support networks is strong.
The quote ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ is referred to a lot in parenting resources.
The reason for this is the widespread understanding that parenting can be hard and that close relationships and networks (our village) play an important role in nurturing children – and nurturing parents to raise children.
Think about your networks
Any time is a good time to do a health check of your ‘village’ and how you can strengthen it for you and your children. Some questions to ask yourself include:
- Who can I share the joys of my parenting with?
- Who can I go to when I need practical support to manage the everyday tasks of parenting?
- Who can I trust to seek advice from regarding my child and my parenting role?
- Who can I go to for support when I am exhausted, sad, not coping or grieving?
- Who can I trust to look after my child if I become too unwell (physically or emotionally)?
You might also like to consider referring to our page ‘Your child’s support networks‘ to think about your child’s connections, and ways you could strengthen these to support the entire family. (Download the worksheets if you have more than one child).
When your village isn’t as strong as it needs to be
As a parent with a mental illness, you may already have a strong village of networks to support you and your children. For other parents the reality is that their own village isn’t as strong as they need it to be – or that the other members of their village are also overwhelmed or unable to provide support at times.
If you feel isolated, you may need help to strengthen the networks that support you and your child. A good place to start may be to talk with your mental health professional. Alternatively, there are a range of programs and services that can help, including:
- Head to Health to find help and support for people experiencing mental health difficulties.
- Mi Networks connect you to local information and services that suit your needs, anywhere in Australia.
- SANE’s online forums provide a place where people can share their experiences of mental illness and connect with others in similar situations.
- The services and supports listed on the Raising Children Network website provide comprehensive information about different types of supports, including links to local services in each state of Australia.
- The Australian Government’s Department of Social Services suggests the following online service directories covering each state of Australia and different community needs.