Mental Health is very high in the public eye thanks to high profile people speaking out about their own illness.
1 in 4 of us will suffer from a mental health illness in our lifetime.
I know that there are many grandparents who are suffering with their mental health because of their estrangement, it is so important that they feel able to talk about how they are feeling and to understand that the trauma of separation can be devastating to their health.
It is also very clear that the grandchildren themselves are also suffering.
The evidence is clear when we see some of the children reunited with their grandparents.
As with all mental health problems everyone will be affected in different ways, some more severe than others.
It may be that the children display mood swings, have issues with eating, or are withdrawn.
In some extreme cases we are seeing youngsters who shut themselves off totally from the outside world.
They are unable to communicate with anyone except their grandparents, they spend most of their time hidden away under their duvet. They have lost all belief in themselves, they have no self-esteem whatsoever. Any offer of help is scorned.
Those of us who have experienced those ‘teenage’ years, will know that teenagers tend to behave in similar ways, but this is much more extreme.
The youngsters can become aggressive and abusive towards their grandparents, because they need to lash out.
Grandparents who are facing these circumstances are going through their own heartache, witnessing the grandchildren they love,seemingly going into self destruct.
All these grandparents are getting help and support as they need to be able to ‘talk it out’ themselves. They have to try to self protect, which is not easy, but they need to keep healthy.
As estranged grandparents we dream of being reunited but it is not always the panacea we think it will be.
Our grandchildren have been lied to, they have lost trust in all adults and they are understandably full of anger, confusion and fear.
They need endless days of patience, no questions , just for their grandparents to be there for them when they feel able to talk. No pressure, just love them.
If anyone reading this is feeling this way please ask for help, go to your Doctor or contact The Samaritans 116 123 or Childline 08001111 .