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Parents who are struggling to obtain the help they need often benefit from a good solicitor and the support of advocacy services.

See for example, the advocacy services run by Mind and Rethink which can be very effective.

The courts should ensure that this will not happen.

National mental health charities and local advocacy groups can also be useful in helping parents to find the help they need within a reasonable time-frame – such organisations can often be more aware of available resources than social workers or psychiatrists. However, given the current budget cuts within the public sector, all local authorities are under pressure to save money, if only in the short term.

Ultimately, the courts make decisions based upon the best interests of the child rather than on the financial convenience of the professionals involved.

It would therefore be very difficult for Children’s Services to persuade a court to allow Social Workers to remove children simply to avoid the expense of supporting a parent.

Advocacy services such as those run by Mind and Rethink can be very effective.

It can be very difficult for parents with mental health difficulties and personality disorder diagnoses to find and receive the support they need.People who have mental health problems often find that any unexplained physical symptoms will be attributed to their mental health or behaviour: this is known as ‘diagnostic overshadowing’, and is very common.Furthermore, Children’s Services and the NHS do not always share information as effectively as necessary, and records and letters can be inaccurate, worsening the problem.Some people with a diagnosis of personality disorder cope with stress in self-destructive ways such as by self-harm, substance abuse, eating problems or sexual risk-taking, and these people may need help in ensuring that their children are not affected by their behaviour.It is this latter category – those parents who are harming themselves, and whose children are witnessing them harming themselves or whose unborn children are affected by them harming themselves – who are most likely to attract the concern of professionals.“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that your mental health challenges make you a weak person or a bad parent.

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