It’s not something most people want to think about.

It’s not something many sufferers want to talk about.

But it matters. And we need to recognise it. Growing up in a home where one of your parents/carers is an alcoholic or has a mental illness – that is tough. Beyond tough actually. It isn’t something you can leave behind when you leave home. It impacts on the way you interact with other people. It affects your ability to trust. It spoils relationships. It can induce dreadful feelings of shame. It can cut you off from the ability to know what you are feeling at all.

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If this has been your experience then know that however isolating it might feel you are not alone. There are people you can talk to online, on the phone and in person. And talking can really help.

Nacoa is a charity set up to help children (young and adult) of alcoholics.

Adult children of Alcoholics is another organisation which provides information and support as is Al-Anon .

This leaflet provides information and contacts that are relevant to children of parents/carers with mental illness.

If you would like to talk with a qualified therapist/counsellor about issues that relate to these things then your GP may be able to provide you with free counselling as can some charities. You can also find your own independent counsellor through the BACP Find a Therapist website or the  Counselling Directory or simply by using a search engine to find a counsellor in your area.