For me, Family Day is a time when I think about the importance of family to mental wellness, and I think about all of the families struggling as they support kids with a mental illness. Some of the best advice I received when my own family was struggling was around the importance of spending meaningful time together.
In my family, dinner is sacrosanct. With busy schedules it is often challenging, but we do our best to make this an important connection time to share our thoughts and feelings. Sometimes we laugh a lot, sometimes we work out problems, sometimes it’s about scheduling, and sometimes it’s about… nothing. But stopping to make time together is so important.
For those families who struggle to support kids with mental illness, I hope that you think about the importance of also ensuring the caregiver is taken care of. When our daughter was really ill, I was tired and depressed. And someone reminded me of one of the key lessons in aircraft safety demonstrations – when people need to receive oxygen, the caregiver should always put their oxygen mask on first, and the child’s second. There is something important in that message that I took away; I had to look after myself in order to look after my family.
Please remember to take some time for yourself on Family Day as well!