How to cope with grown child with mental illness? – Answers to all your burning questions as a parent!

We live in an era where mental illnesses are gradually becoming a massive issue in society. Therefore, it is pretty important to be aware of and take care of adult and child mental health. Especially when you are a parent, it is essential to be aware of how to cope with a grown child with mental and physical illness. Because 50% of mental illnesses start at the age of 14, 75% begins by 24. Meaning there are parents across the country trying to understand how they can help their grown children with mental illness. 

As the physical diseases are visible, it is comparatively easier to cope with. But, when it comes to adult children with mental illnessit is a complicated scenario. Parents need to have proper guidance on how to cope with grown child with mental illness.

All grown children have their own depressive and aggressive phrases in their lives. This may cause changes in behavior and thought processes. As a parent, you need to realize these types of temporary situations, which are not complicated, because these phrases will pass! When your grown child makes bad decisions or if you worry about saying” “my 20-year-old son won’t work”, that does not mean the child necessarily has a mental illness. You would need more ground to conclude whether your adult child is mentally ill. 

How do you live with a mentally unstable person? – Before discussing how to cope with grown child with mental illness

We all know for a fact that living with a mentally ill person is not easy. Especially when it is your adult kid, the situation is challenging beyond imagination. We have seen parents saying, “my daughter’s mental illness is killing me!”, “my son’s mental illness drives me crazy too” or “how to cope with daughter’s mental illness?”

It is challenging to go ahead when your adult child receives a mental illness diagnosis. As a parent, you are a vital support system for your child, and you are not helpless. Following are the best tips we can give you on how to cope with grown child with mental illnessThis is a general guide for all mentally unstable grown children. Still, if you wonder how to help an adult child with depression or help parents of bipolar adultsthese steps do help. 

If you search about how to cope with grown child with mental illness, better to get educated first!

The most crucial action you should take as a parent is to study your child’s mental health complication and how they experience it. In the past decades, people used to ignore mental illnesses. Today, society sees mental illnesses as severe medical issues that require treatment, just like physical illness. So, there is a lot of resources you can use to educate yourself! There are enough institutes that support and corporate with you to deal with mental illnesses. These institutes may differ from country to country. But every country has its own set of organizations waiting to help you. You only need to search for them. For an instance, if you live in the United Kingdom, just type “how to cope with grown child with mental illness UK” on your browser. You will get all information in a matter of a click! 

Most countries have a National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is live 24/7. 

An adult child with depression, OCD, a personality disorder, or bipolar disorder needs an educated support system. More the knowledge you can gather, the better you can provide proper support and not judge your child’s circumstances. 

Often, Mental illness is associated with a genetic component, just like some families deal with heart diseases or cancers. Investigate your family history to find if anyone else has had a similar condition. Finding someone with similar mental complication help them realize that they do not have a character flaw.

If there is a family member who successfully got/getting treatment, can give invaluable encouragement.

Encourage Treatment

A mental health complication is not a “fault”! It is a typical disease that requires treatment, just like flue diabetes. So, it is your child’s responsibility to get the treatment they need. But most young adults refuse to get treatment for different reasons. They might feel ashamed to be judged, might not have identified about their serious situation, or might be simply “Stubborn.” 


How to help someone with mental illness who refuses help?

You might find enough parents getting confused over how to get mental health help for someone who doesn’t want it! “My son has a mental illness and won’t get help” “My son is depressed and refuses help,” they say. 

Seeing a loved one suffer is hard. It is pretty natural to want to fix things for our loved ones. If you are trying to help your adult child who does not wish to help, it would probably feel frustrating, exhausting, scary, and out of your control.

People are naturally trying to control aspects of their lives. The more you push at times, the more likely your child will try to control their own life. Therefore, you need to be tactful. 

Here are the basics to help you when working with your loved one who does not want help:

Listen and validate

It does not hurt to just listen to your child. Ask them what is going on and honestly listen to what they say. Help them feel heard. People find it hard to take action unless they feel heard and understood.

Ask questions

Do not try to push them to do something unless your child wants to do it too. Instead, you can ask them what they want. Then find ways to support them towards their goals with an approach that you both can agree on. 

Resist the need to fix or give advice

There is always a better time for advice that comes when someone asks for it. If your child has not requested, just wait and listen to them. Once you give them the space to feel heard, they will become less defensive and be more open to a conversation.

Take care of yourself and find yourself support.

We cannot help others unless we are okay. It will be hard to be patient when we are tired and frustrated. Get connected with others who are in the caregiving sector. Find a person you can go to who is on your side and can help you feel better. 

Navigate Dual Diagnosis

A dual diagnosis is a situation that occurs with a substance abuse disorder or with another disorder. The best example is depression and anxiety. National Alliance on Mental Illness says 7.9 million people in America experience a mental health complication and a substance use disorder.

Substance abuse/ addiction are mental health issues that push your children against treatment. They may be reluctant to admit they have a substance problem because using helps ease their mental health symptoms. This creates encouraging your child difficulty for you. Prior to addressing their mental health issue, your child should be aware of their own substance abuse problem.

Research for the best substance abuse treatment centers in your state. Many addiction facilities perform dual diagnosis. As a parent, provide support and encouragement to your child. Simultaneously, set boundaries to disable substance abuse. If your adult child enters a substance abuse recovery program, schedule your own sessions with the counselors too. This would give your child the strength to go through it successfully.

Learn About Treatment Options for Mental Illness

Mental health complications usually get treated via talk therapy, medications, or a combination of both techniques.

Talk Therapy

Talk Therapy is simply talking to a therapist, and it does not have any side effects. This helps your child understand their own feelings, cope with them, and build strategies for wellness.

Encourage your adult child to be open and honest. Remind them that therapy is safe, and there are laws for therapists to keep conversations confidential. 


Meditation will not be necessary for some patients; They will recover through talk therapy alone. For others, medication is crucial and helps to improve the quality of life drastically. If your adult child prefers meditation, look for a psychiatrist with a good reputation. Also, do not forget to join the sessions. 


TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) treatments are drug-free and non-invasive. They can treat anxiety, depression, OCD, and PTSD. This treatment reactivates neural pathways that become underactive in patients with depression. TMS therapy is effective and safe but should be provided under the care of a psychiatrist.

Suppose you are a parent having the problem “where can my mentally ill son live?” and looking for residential treatment. In that case, your child can get into a Licensed care home. They have assisted living facilities. Nursing homes provide a highly structured living for people with severe mental illness, disability, or medical complications. With access to staff 24-hours a day and meals provided, residents usually pay most of their income except for a small allowance.   

Manage Health Insurance

Unless your child is under 26 years, they will not be under your health insurance plan. Help them get an insurance cover and to navigate their benefits. 

Insurance may be from your child’s employer or individual marketplace. If you cannot afford to have one, search for financial assistance. Most states grant financial aid for health insurance and Medicaid for low-income people.

Stay Strong After Recovery

Be aware that relapses can occur even your adult child has been through treatment. Use that education you gained about relapse triggers to good use. Support your adult child deal with stressful situations and additional episodes they experience.

Often check on to make sure they take medication and therapy sessions as prescribed. This is how to stop enabling your grown child to fall back to where he/she started. 

Take Care of Yourself

Well, a mental health complication is traumatic for everyone in the family, especially if it is an adult child. But as a parent, you should remember that your physical and mental health is important too. Therefore, save some time and energy to maintain your wellness.

Talk therapy is an excellent option, and just one hour a week is enough. Your therapist can also provide proper context for what your child is going through, which is an added benefit. 

Does mental illness worsen with age?

This is one of the most general questions among people dealing with mentally ill children. It is essential to understand that mental illness is not a natural component of aging. National Institute of Mental Health says mental health disorders distress younger adults more than they do older adults. However, it is also a fact that seniors are less likely to seek help.

However, Mental illnesses associated with Personality Disorders appear to worsen with advancing age. 10%–20% of people age 65 or older having a personality disorder.

But personality disorders do not appear suddenly for the first time in old age. The behavior starts to appear at a younger age. These behaviors keep hiding in a stable person for a long time and seem pervasive in old ages. 

According to Dr. Rosowsky (a neuropsychologist in Needham, Mass.) Personality disorders that are susceptible to worsening with age include: –

  • paranoid
  • schizoid
  • schizotypal
  • obsessive-compulsive
  • borderline 
  • histrionic 
  • narcissistic
  • avoidant 
  • dependent disorders. 

Can poor parenting cause mental illness?

Childhood mental health issues can have lasting effects on a child’s life. Behavioral problems are the most common mental health problem in early childhood, and it affects around 5–10% of young children. First signals of behavior problems can appear as early as infancy and toddlerhood. Parenting is a key factor in the development of early psychopathology. Lacking sensitive parenting and high use of harsh discipline directly links to the development of behavioral problems. The negative outcomes may include relationship difficulties, school failure, delinquent behavior, mental illness, and physical illnesses. 

On the other hand, when considering how to cope with grown child with mental illnesstherapists making parents feel guiltyis not always correct. Because a child’s home environment and his relationships with the parents do not cause the disorder; They can only intensify a mental illness. Things like depression, anxiety, autism, and learning disorders apparently have a biological cause. Therefore, parenting is not to blame. But parents play a central role in providing support and care that is crucial to their child’s mental health and recovery.

How to let go of your grown child?

Learning about letting go of a mentally ill child is just as critical as learning about your child’s illness or how to support them. The awareness of disconnecting from a person can seem terrifying. But there is a way to practice healthy detachment. 

Stop questioning What Went Wrong? and understand You cannot control other people. When you think of it for the first time, you might feel like you are looking for answers for how to get rid of a grown child. It is wrong! You are genuinely finding solutions for how to set both yourself and your childfree. 

If you are a hurting parent, laid low due to a separation of an adult child, this is what you should do: – 

  • Examine your own feelings and thoughts. Understand how it feels like when attachment hurts? 
  • Be with others. Love them. But never look to them as the foundation of your happiness.
  • Learn to be alone without feeling lonely. Love yourself enough that you can be your best companion.
  • Stop blaming yourself for the broken relationship with your child. You did not and could not control the outcome. Do not beat yourself up for things you cannot control. 

How to deal with a mentally ill parent?

Not only the parents but children also fight this struggle when their parents are mentally unstable. Dealing with a parent with mental illnesses even more complicated than dealing with a child. We hope this short guide would help you. 

Go to Therapy.

Connecting with a non-judgmental therapist would help you unravel your childhood experiences and realize how they shape your life. 

Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

your thoughts have a lot to do with how you view yourself and the world. If you tell yourself that your past experiences break your current life, or it was your fault that your parent was mentally ill, you will begin to believe that. Meditation and mindfulness will save you from your own thought. 

Accept your mentally ill parent.

This is realizing that they battled a mental illness, and they need support. Even though you are not responsible for changing them, you can always give them a hand. 

Surround yourself with Supportive People.

According to research, a primary way child of mentally ill parents survives their childhoods is through supportive teachers, friends, and other grown-ups. 

Learn About Mental Illness

It is empowering to learn a lot about the kind of mental health issues your parent or parents battle and that might run in your family.

“My Life Is My Own.”

Having a continuous thought, “This is my life,” “I can have a different life than the one I had while growing up,” can be healing. Always remember that you are the ruler of your life; no one else has that power over you.

 Practice Prevention.

 Believe in yourself.

Always believe that you are strong enough to keep the happiness in your life. It may be your adult child or your parent, always support mentally struggling people around you. But never stop taking care of yourself too. We hope this article would help you with that…

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