Parent Mental Health Day (PMHD) 2024

Parents Mental Health Day is created and promoted by the charity Stem4 to promote teenage mental health and their parents/carers.

Parent Mental Health Day (PMHD) 2024
Photo by Aedrian / Unsplash

Parents Mental Health Day is a dedicated day to raise awareness for the mental well-being of parents and those who look after children, which is pivotal. PMHD allows those responsible for youngsters to contemplate and converse about the hurdles they encounter. Celebrating the achievements in creating positive links among family members is essential to strengthening bonds. Creating awareness between parents and teenage mental health helps parents understand what teenagers are going through and vice versa.

Why is it Important?

The last few years have never been more challenging; mental health decline amongst teenagers and parents is on the rise. Yet, often, we don't stop to think about the mental health of our teenagers, and our teenagers probably do not fully understand the mental wellness of parents and those responsible for them. 

Over the recent years, we've had some significant life events, such as the pandemic and the cost of living. The continued rise of concern around what digital harm might be doing to our children all plays a part in both our children's mental well-being as well as our parents.

Stem4 surveyed 2000 parents and carers in 2023.

  • Of those asked, most said family quality of life deteriorated.
  • 35% of parents worried about the family's mental health.
  • 21% worried about physical health.
  • 82% of parents felt overwhelmed and disconnected from friends, families and work colleagues.

Further studies of 12 - 21 year olds

  • Most young people think their parents don't get them.
  • 23% would be open to discussing mental health problems with a family member.
  • 4 in 10 young people have lost social confidence since the pandemic.
  • Most of them feel lonely and struggle with mental health.

So, PMHD aims to help reconnect families to understand each other better and support mental health to improve home and work relationships. Young people are at particular risk when they feel isolated, as it creates a sense of loneliness and perhaps low self-esteem.

Strong relationships create a sense of warmth and trust between people, none more so crucial than between parents, carers and children. They can increase their ability to be more resilient, preparing them for the challenges life throws at them and helping them increase mental fitness.

Five Ways On Building Relationships

These are my five tips to help foster better relationships and allow better conversations between families and colleagues.  

Being in the moment

How often have you been talking to your kids, and either one of you have been on the phone? The phone is a distraction, meaning your full attention is elsewhere rather than present in the conversation. Not being fully present portrays that you are trying to engage, but your body language and behaviour are elsewhere. Being on your phone/tablet or other means of distraction signals that this is more important than you. Put the phone away and be present in the conversation.

Have fun together.

Get out in nature, try a new hobby or even eat together. The benefits of all these are already well documented. Fresh air and walking are a chance to connect and explore together. Eating together and reviving the family meal is a great way to educate table manners, digest the day, and, most importantly, build self-esteem. It's a distraction-free time where you can listen to your children and what they say, showing them that you value them and what they have to say.

Boundaries are key

We all have differences and opinions, including adults' relationships with children. Setting boundaries for children creates a framework that allows children to feel safe and provide structure in the relationship. As they age, have a collaborative approach to setting boundaries, so it feels more like a partnership. When boundaries get broken, try to remain calm when discussing them in a circle of safety so they feel encouraged to talk without fear of retribution. Have a consistent approach across care, discipline and daily routines. This collaboration ensures that decisions are in the child's best interest and that both parties feel their views and knowledge are valued.

Maintain positive relationships

Relationships are complex, but being more open and honest with each other helps prevent walls from building. Respect each other's values and interests and be aware of each other's emotions. Active listening is a powerful technique that enables you to listen intently to the conversation without judgment. Avoid jumping in with solutions such as "I would do this..." or "If it were me, I would do it this way". Consider taking turns to focus and care with each other.

Show Appreciation

We often take what we do for each other for granted, but taking the time to recognise and appreciate the small achievements we do for each other can go a long way toward building strong relationships. Some examples of this might be telling your children how proud you are of them and thanking them for being themselves. The size of what you appreciate doesn't matter. The simple act of recognising them is a powerful bond creator.  

Final Thoughts

As we celebrate awareness of the power of relationships for Parents Mental Health Day on the 27th of January, 2024, we must recognise that we can do many small things to make a big difference.

  • Be Present
  • Have fun together
  • Boundaries are key
  • Maintain positive relationships
  • Show appreciation

The tips I present in this article are about ways to foster relationships with our children but may also work for building relationships in general.

The world requires us to look after one another in all its uncertainty. We do not understand what is going on in each other's lives, and work colleagues and friends may be struggling to look after children with mental health at the expense of their own.

For more information, tips and tricks, check out Stem4's resources on their website.

Parent Mental Health Day - stem4
Parent Mental Health Day (PMHD) on 27th January is an awareness day that encourages understanding and awareness of mental health in parents.