It’s #TimetoTalk Day – a day created by mental health charity Mind in order to end the stigma around mental health. They say we need to speak up about our mental health challenges in order to access support. If only it was that simple. I feel as though I have shouted about adoptive families’ mental health a lot in the last few months. I know what I’m saying is resonating with other adopters. But I’m not hearing much response from those with the power to bring real change.
Here’s what we need to see. (And if you’re unclear, here’s why it matters.)
1. Mental health and adoption charities working together to address the mental health of adoptive families
This is vital, both for children (who face horrendously long waits to access CAMHS, assuming they’re allowed through the door at all) and parents (who are often expected to act as human sponges for their children’s trauma without any mental healthcare of their own). We are exhausted and depleted and need others to advocate for us.It's #TimetoTalk about the mental health of adoptive families, @MindCharity. Click To Tweet
2. Post-adoption support offering a package of mental healthcare as standard for all adoptive families
Imagine it just being guaranteed, without having to add to our stress by fighting for it! It could happen, if a campaign by the major charities influenced political will.
3. Better understanding in schools
The new Heads Together initiative which equips schools to discuss mental health is great, but it’s unclear whether this addresses looked-after or adopted children who have experienced the trauma of abuse and/or neglect. Let’s make sure their experiences are not put aside as ‘too specialist’ or ‘too complicated’ and addressed in a sensitive manner where families would find this helpful.
4. Better understanding of adopters’ mental health challenges by professionals
I’d like post-adoption depression and secondary trauma to be as widely recognised and understood (especially among professionals working with adoptive families, such as social workers, teachers, doctors…) as post-natal depression and PTSD.
Time to say it again?
If all this is sounding a bit familiar, that might be because I have written about it before. So has my daughter. This stuff really matters. It could make a difference to the lives of hundreds of families. So if it’s #TimetoTalk, let’s talk. Let’s get the charities who care about these issues together in a room, making something happen.
Agree? Please share this post, tagging your favourite adoption and mental health charities and asking them to help.It's time for #mentalhealth and #adoption charities to talk about how they can work together to address adoptive families' mental health. #TimetoTalk Click To Tweet