How to help a parent who is managing illness in the family

Parents of a seriously ill child can experience difficult feelings such as isolation, anxiety and depression. Coupled with the practical stresses of caring for the child and their siblings, this can take a toll on their mental health and ability to cope.

If someone close to you is living in the shadow of serious illness, you may want to help but feel powerless to do so.

Here are some suggestions of how you can help support them:

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    Keep in touch with parents who have a seriously ill child. It is fine not to know what to say. Saying that you don’t know what to say is alw

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    Know that a parent with a seriously ill child will have different needs at different points in their child’s illness. It can take time for a

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    Make a concrete offer of help, rather than a general offer. Ask if there are any practical tasks you could take on. Helping with housework,

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    Caring for a child with a serious illness can be all-consuming, leaving little time for a parent to find out what support exists for themsel

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    Be aware that social media can bring particular challenges for mental health. Sharing updates about a child’s illness can be a way for a par

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    Be natural with the parent or carer who is struggling and take a non-judgmental approach. Just telling someone that it is ok to feel how the

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    Try some small acts of generosity, like cooking and delivering a meal to the family, or sending a small, thoughtful gift which can really he

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    Be aware of their needs before your own. It is natural to feel moved by their situation, but it can be draining for the parent if they end u

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    Donate to Rainbow Trust so that more families can receive much needed support from a Family Support Worker.