As this is Mental Health Awareness Week this is a good place to start that conversation, for us all to talk about it.

Most of us will be affected with a mental health issue at some time in our lives, but it is still an illness that is often silent and often misunderstood.

Many grandparents who face estrangement and alienation from their grandchildren/adult children, will suffer this way.

It seems obvious that if you are prevented from seeing a grandchild that you are going to feel sad, lonely and isolated, what is not so obvious or discussed is the grandparents who feel so completely overwhelmed by the desolation make the decision that they can no longer carry on.

There are also grandparents who have been ostracised from their family as a result of having a mental health illness in the past. It seems that as parents we are not allowed to be as vulnerable as everyone else, it somehow makes us ‘dangerous’ to be around. Without exception anyone, whatever age can have a breakdown, for numerous reasons.

If we have a serious physical illness, are we also shut out of families lives?

When you are at your lowest ebb the last thing you want to hear is people saying, ‘pick yourself up,’ if we could we would. What you want is someone to just listen, not to judge and to be a friend.

As I have written so many times before, it is not only us that face this, the grandchildren/children do as well.

Children who are unable to talk about how this is making them feel, because they are not allowed to mention their grandparents or non resident parent. Those people they love, have become shadows in their lives.

We all know that our young people in this country say they are at  unhappy. Of course there are also many reasons for that, they too are under enormous pressure in their young lives, and  being prevented from a continuing loving,caring relationship with family members increases their anxieties. A time when we could be there to give them the support they deserve, a place to come and unload their most inner most thoughts is the time it is denied to them.

So mental health issues are present in the very young to the older generation and every age in between.

Everyone has the ability to play their part in ‘starting that conversation,’ and to notice when someone is struggling.

Compassion is a word rarely used now, but it is time for us all to find that compassion in our hearts, tomorrow it might be you who is crying out for help?

Jane