When parents are not okay, there is HOPE

Global Day of Parents is June 1; HOPE extends a lifeline to parents of young people

HOPE (Helping Other Parents Everywhere) is a registered Canadian charity supporting parents of youth and emerging adults struggling with mental health issues, addiction, school, legal issues and more. ‘When parents are not okay, there is HOPE’ is an awareness-raising campaign to encourage struggling parents and guardians to join HOPE for support from other parents who have experienced similar challenges raising young people. The campaign kicks off on the United Nations Global Day of Parents on June 1.

Studies show 1.6 million teens and adult children in Canada are dealing with mental health disorders, with tens of thousands waiting months or even years for adequate treatment (Children Healthcare Canada and The Conference Board of Canada, 2023). Alarmingly, the World Happiness Report also shows that Canadians under 30 are ‘very unhappy’.

The steady increase of issues that trigger mental health disorders in young people is also
affecting parents and primary caregivers; they are struggling to cope and effectively support their teens and emerging adult children.

This parent-focused campaign, @HOPE4parents, created by a team of post-grad PR students at Centennial College, is a seven-week communications campaign across multiple platforms featuring a series of HOPE parent testimonials and tips from medical, parenting and other experts.

“At HOPE, we experience the power of parent-to-parent peer support every day,” says Leanne Lewis, board chair of HOPE. “Parents join HOPE from all backgrounds, walks of life and family styles. While each situation is unique, the struggles are similar. Over time, as the parents learn new strategies and approaches, their sense of well-being improves and their family dynamics begin to change.”

Parent burnout is a reality

HOPE’s mission is to eliminate stigma and lower the pressure on parents when their children are struggling. HOPE supports parents in better understanding their children’s issues and helps them move forward with a refreshed parenting approach. HOPE supports parents in developing strength-focused parenting strategies that foster the young person’s resilience and healthy decision-making while also supporting the parent’s own sense of well-being. HOPE provides a service that responds to a gap in care – specifically, the shortage of services designed to help parents and caregivers provide the primary support these young people need.

HOPE believes that while love might come naturally, effective parenting is a learned skill. Too often parents struggle in silence while juggling the responsibilities of maintaining a stable family front, careers and personal aspirations. HOPE believes the more effectively parents are supported, the healthier the relationships with their children will be through challenging times.

HOPE’s members are equipped with HOPE's proprietary ‘Fresh Perspectives Guidebook’, which takes an integrated three-legged approach: tackle concerning issues, foster healthy relationships, especially with their young person, and nurture self-regard and self-care. Over 1,300 parents across Ontario have benefitted from the tools and parental resources offered by HOPE, with a 93 percent member recommendation rate.

In addition to confidential in-person and virtual sessions held weekly, HOPE holds an annual conference and periodic seminars and workshops featuring subject matter experts such as psychologists and parents with lived experience.

About HOPE

Founded in 2008, HOPE was founded on the philosophy that, with knowledge, tools, and support, parents who are concerned about their teen or adult children can gain the skills and strength to change their family dynamics. A one-year membership costs $50 for the first parent and an additional $25 for the second parent or guardian. If finances are a concern, bursaries are available.

For more information, visit http://www.hope4parents.org; @hope4parents on Instagram and Facebook.

"We still have issues, but we are managing and I feel so much lighter, freer, and—dare I say it?—hopeful."

—HOPE parent