In between dividing assets, planning to relocate, and deciding on a parenting plan it is easy to forget to take a moment and breathe. Divorce can leave adults with natural feelings of loss and depression. As a parent it is important to consider that mental health after divorce will have a major impact on children.
Ignoring parental depression can result in problems for children
Children are often listed as the number one concern during divorce. Parents consider where the kids will live, expenses, visitation time, but do not to consider their own mental health. Some emotional behavior is bound to happen when life is turned upside down, but unchecked mental health problems can last after life settles.
When children experience a parent who is having erratic mood swings, depression, or isolated behavior there is a higher chance of academic, social, and emotional problems. Parental depression can result in increased chances for school performance problems, health deterioration, reduced social tendencies, anxiety and a higher risk for depression themselves.
Coping with depression after divorce
After divorce new feelings will surface that may not be expected: anger, joy, regret, and sadness. Situational depression is common in cases such as divorce or the loss of a loved one. There is a tendency to want to push depression away and hide it somewhere. Ignoring feelings can cause them to fester and grow. It helps to take time to grieve the loss of a relationship and consider counseling if depression continues.
Consider counseling in the divorce budget
It can be helpful to give children counseling after divorce, but parents should consider it for themselves as well. While planning a divorce budget it is smart to consider the cost of counseling. Know that there is no shame in seeking help with depression, especially in consideration for building a healthy home environment where children can experience stability and support.
Tips for recovery
Professional help can be a big relief for those experiencing mental health problems. There are some additional tips to follow for situational depression after divorce:
- Don't push feelings away. The first step to moving forward is to stop ignoring important emotions and recognize that feelings of grief and loss are normal
- Find support in old friends or new friendships. Prolonged isolation is unhealthy. When experiencing loss it can be helpful to talk with old friends or make new connections
- Take care to get exercise, sleep well, and eat well which will boost overall mood and energy levels