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The Parent Support Network

family of 4 walks, holding hands, 2 parents and 2 children

Connect with fellow parents and caregivers to navigate your child's mental health journey.

The Parent Support Network provides parents and caregivers who are concerned about their children's mental health with an opportunity to find and support each other in a confidential and safe space.

The Parent Support Network is a program of Mental Health America.

Become a free member

"I am so thankful and grateful for this support group. I do not feel so alone in the struggles I have with my son."

Free local and online support

Meetings are confidential, free, and open to any parent or guardian concerned about their kids (ages 1-25) who struggle with anxiety, depression, mood dysregulation, or other emotional, behavioral, or mental health challenges.

Local chapters of The Parent Support Network organize confidential and free in-person support meetings. Virtual meetings are available every week for parents and caregivers residing anywhere in the United States.

Sessions are facilitated by trained volunteers with experience raising a child who has struggled with their mental health.

mom comforts kid who is in distress
Find a local or virtual meeting

"It was good to meet up with people I didn't know because I had more privacy and zero judgment."

"It was nice to hear from other parents and know I'm not alone as a parent experiencing similar challenges."

You are not alone

Supporting kids means supporting their parents and caregivers. Raising a young person can be challenging under the best of circumstances. But when a child, teenager, or young adult struggles with emotional, mental, or behavioral health problems, parenting can be overwhelming and isolating. 

Join our community and find hope, strength, and support in your journey. 

two dads look at their phone with their child
mother sits with child and looks at computer together

"Opening up to anyone is difficult for some, but opening up to a group of strangers is frightening. I felt safe in this group and was able to learn from this great group of facilitators and members."

"The facilitators have experienced situations that the newer members are now experiencing and make helpful suggestions on ways to handle life with our grown children."

Frequently Asked Questions

The Parent Support Network model is based on the following foundation:

  • Meetings are in-person, confidential, and free for parents and caregivers.
  • Meetings are open to any parent or caregiver who is concerned about their kids (ages 1–25) who struggle with anxiety, depression, mood dysregulation, or other emotional, behavioral, or mental health challenges.
  • A child does not need to have a diagnosis for a parent to benefit from meetings.
  • Meetings are organized and led by a trained facilitator, who is a parent or caregiver with lived experience raising a child with a mental health condition.
  • While facilitators guide the dialogue, the content is driven by the needs of the parents in attendance.
  • Parents work together to share experiences and gather reliable and vetted lists of community and regional resources to help each other and other families to find the assistance they need.
  • Vetted for parents and by parents, there is no better resource than a referral from someone who shares your experience.

The Parent Support Network meetings are open and inclusive to all parents, regardless of a diagnosis or the current state of their child's mental health. The Parent Support Network meetings are meant to be flexible and work with a wide range of parent concerns about a child's mental health and well-being.

Parents often begin searching for answers and support well before they realize their children may be struggling with their mental health or receive a diagnosis of any kind. Because we believe that early intervention can make a difference for a child and family, The Parent Support Network meetings are intended to be relatable and supportive to all parents at any stage of concern.

Each chapter of The Parent Support Network is run by volunteer facilitators who have personal experience raising a child, teen, or young adult who has struggled with their mental health. The facilitators are vetted, trained, and supported, and are dedicated to helping parents navigate difficulties that they have experienced themselves.

The Parent Support Network in-person meetings are intended to be flexible and open, allowing the discussion to be influenced by the needs of attendees.

While each meeting is guided by one or more facilitators using a defined structure and format, the topics of discussion are driven by the parent attendees and the particular concerns or feelings they bring to the meeting.

Typical topics include but are not limited to:

  • Concerns about behaviors
  • Therapy
  • Treatment
  • Medication
  • Education
  • Diagnosis
  • Relationships with friends and family
  • Impact on siblings

The facilitators are trained to use any topic of discussion as an opportunity to help parents feel connected and work through difficult feelings, such as blame, shame, guilt, anger, disappointment, and frustration, enabling them to find hope, gratitude, acceptance, and strength.

Meetings happen at least once a month. All meetings are open to new members, and parents are not obligated to attend any specific meeting or number of meetings. Since there is no set curriculum, parents can decide when to attend based upon their own schedule and may choose to attend regularly or sporadically.

Meetings are expected to last about 90 minutes, but the precise length will vary depending on the location, size of the group, and needs of the facilitators. As parents may have children at home who need care and whose needs are often unpredictable, flexibility is built in to allow parents to arrive late or leave early. Facilitators are trained to create a comfortable and safe environment for all attendees. 

At this time, The Parent Support Network is not structured to provide child care. We suggest attendees make arrangements with a trusted caregiver for children. If there are two parents involved, have one parent attend the meeting while the other parent is with the child/children. 

Anonymity is a foundation of safety, particularly during times of stress, anxiety, and worry. We support and protect each individual's need to maintain privacy and anonymity and insist that all parents and caregivers agree to maintain confidentiality and privacy. We respect the right of each individual and their family to determine if, when, and where they are willing to share their identities or personal stories or experiences.

Parents who share similar experiences can be each other's greatest allies, offering invaluable resources and understanding. Parents of children facing mental health challenges are uniquely positioned to understand the isolation, blame, and shame associated with invisible and misunderstood struggles. We have found that parents coming together in these situations are enthusiastic about creating a supportive, safe, and protective environment for everyone.

No. Attendees may simply observe and listen as long as they like. Facilitators are trained to encourage parents to find their own levels of comfort and give everyone the opportunity to speak or share if and when they become ready.

mom holds her child's head and kisses them on the cheek

"To be able to share your feelings and experiences with other parents who understand was helpful."