Community and Connection

Workshops for Parents

Information and skills support for parents and carers of young people who are being treated by SLaM services

Parents and carers of young people can experience high levels of stress, burnout and challenges in their relationships with their children.

Maudsley Charity funding will enable this project to trial new ways of delivering innovative, information and skills support workshops for parents and carers of young people who are being treated by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust services.

Parents play a vital role in their child’s emotions

In the last ten years alone there has been an almost 70% rise in self-harming behaviour, and suicide in adolescents in England and Wales. This is often caused by children having difficulty with managing intense emotions, with their relationships, and their sense of identity.

The workshops will help to deepen parents and carers’ understanding of their child’ behaviour, and learn skills to help them support their child or young person at the times they are struggling the most. Parents can play a very important role in helping their child to deal with their emotions.

In turn, this will help to reduce the number of times that children are admitted to hospital, and the length of their stays.

Making training available earlier

High quality, specialist, evidence-based education and skills training are rarely available for parents and carers, who have frequently highlighted the need for this support when their children are referred to mental health services.

Too often parents get access to workshops too late on in the process, after many years of trying to understand their child’s emotional distress and behaviour.

DBT workshops

The workshops will teach ‘parent/carer skills’, to support parents and carers to manage their own emotions in high pressure situations with their children, and to enhance their communication and support of their children at such times.

They will be facilitated in partnership by experienced DBT clinicians and parent/carer experts by experience. Ana Silver, a Clinical Psychologist on the team highlights the importance of involving the former: “Parents hear advice differently from another parent, rather than from a clinician”.

The workshops will use Dialectical Behaviour Therapy for adolescents (DBT-A), which has shown to be a highly effective treatment in such situations.

Drawing on SLaM and parent/carer experts-by-experience

Since the outset, the project has drawn on the expertise of SLaM teams to develop their approach, such as Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities (EPEC), as well as recruiting a parent/carer who is an expert from their own experiences.

They will be delivered through weekend and evening workshops, information packs, and due to the impact of COVID-19, will be adapted for an online audience.