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If your child is old enough, you should discuss your plan with your child and identify resources and options together for handling things when you are not well.
A higher proportion of parents with serious mental illness lose custody of their children than parents without mental illness.
Other people may pass on hereditary traits that make a mental health disorder more likely without passing on a specific disorder.
Because you have a mental health condition does not mean that your child will have a mental health condition.
The age of onset, severity and duration of the parent's mental illness, the degree of stress in the family resulting from the illness, and most importantly, the extent to which parents' symptoms interfere with positive parenting, such as their ability to show interest in their children, will determine the level of risk to a child.
The child's age and stage of development is also important.
Whether or not children of parents with mental illness will develop social, emotional, or behavioral problems depends on a number of factors. They can sense emotional changes and can often tell if something is hidden from them without their knowledge.
These include the child's genetic vulnerability, the parent's behavior, the child's understanding of the parent's illness, and the degree of family stability (for example, the number of parent-child separations). Some children may be able to fully understand what it means to have a mental health condition.
Supporting a family where mental illness is present takes extra resources that may not be available or may not be offered.
The fact that a parent has mental illness alone is not sufficient to cause problems for the child and family.
Rather, it is how the mental health condition affects the parent's behavior as well as familial relationships that may cause risk to a child.
Mental health conditions are not contagious, but research shows that some mental health conditions may have a genetic link.
Bipolar disorder, for example, has long been shown to run in families.