“My daughter was 14 and came home from school after a discussion about mental illness by a teacher and had lots of questions.”
On this page
- Teenagers and mental health
- Teenagers as carers
- Talking to teenagers about PP
- Talking to your daughter about PP and pregnancy
Teenagers and mental health
The children of people who have had a mental illness are at slightly higher risk of experiencing mental illness themselves. This may be due to genes that make some people more vulnerable, or hormone exposure in the womb. Certain life experiences and relationship styles may have an impact too.
Some parents also told us they worry about their teenager taking drugs and the risk of psychosis. We know there is a link between taking drugs and some mental health problems. Your teenager may be at slightly higher risk of mental health problems anyway so it might be sensible to encourage them to be particularly careful.
Here are some resources you may find helpful.
- Young Minds produce a Parents Survival Guide that includes info on you and your child, helping your child and looking after yourself.
- Information from Family Lives on talking to teenagers about drugs (and other aspects of parenting a teenager).
- Young Minds also have a guide to help you talk to your child about social media and the Internet.
- Childline has information and support for younger teenagers.
Teenagers as carers
If you manage an ongoing diagnosis, your teenager may find information from Mind useful for the children of adults with mental health difficulties. You might also find useful information from Carers UK on young carers.
Talking to your teenager about PP
- Be aware that teenagers can respond very emotionally to information. It’s still a good idea to talk.
- Your teenager may find big emotional revelations difficult to handle if you haven’t had at least some discussion about PP earlier in their lives.
- Teenagers value honesty, but they also know how to press your buttons, so it’s important to find a calm collaborative time to talk.
- Talking while engaged in an activity like cooking, walking side by side or doing something creative can sometimes feel easier than sitting face to face and having a formal discussion.
- Make sure they know you are always there to chat or answer any questions. Family Lives has more information on communicating with teenagers.
- Encourage them to talk to other family members if it feels right, but don’t be disappointed if they show little interest.
- Use resources like APP’s website. Make sure they know where to find accurate information if they go looking themselves.
- Use media and celebrity stories to start conversations – for example EastEnders PP storyline over Christmas 2015 and author Laura Dockrill.
- Older teenagers might be interested in watching and talking about the film Irene’s Ghost.
- The Mix has information about psychosis, bipolar disorder and depression that is written for teenagers.
Talking to your daughter about PP as she considers pregnancy
- Make sure you have all the information to hand. Our page on planning pregnancy for women with a high risk of postpartum psychosis has information on risks for your daughter.
- Let your daughter know that she can talk to you any time she likes, or contact APP for advice too.
- Care and support for PP is advancing at great speed so women who suffer from PP today are likely to have a much better experience of care than a few years ago.
Becoming a grandparent after experiencing PP can be an exciting time. But it can also trigger memories and strong feelings about your own journey to parenthood. You might find it helpful to talk about these feelings with a partner, friend, counsellor, your son/daughter or a health professional.