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Family Mediation Week – Thursday’s Myth: there isn’t much support out there for those going through a separation

As part of Family Mediation Week we will be sharing a blog on each of our daily topics.  These blogs are written by Louisa Whitney from LKW Family Mediation, an FMC Accredited and Child Inclusive Mediator and Professional Practice Consultant.  We will also be busting a myth in each blog as there are many misconceptions around the family mediation process and we’re keen to use this week to share correct and clear information.

Today’s myth:  there isn’t much support out there for those going through a separation

This myth absolutely needs to be busted.  There is now a wealth of information on the internet and in your local community about how to manage all aspects of separation.  Broadly speaking those services are centred around the following needs:

  • Support with financial issues whether this is
    • how to manage investments,
    • what pension options are right for you,
    • what mortgage might you be able to borrow,
    • How do you deal with a significant debt problem
  • Emotional support for you. This might be:
    • Counselling or psychotherapy to help you come to terms with the separation or other events that have happened in your life
    • Coaching support to help you talk through ideas and get some emotional support, or help you to focus on the future more confidently
  • Emotional support for your children
    • This might be to give them a safe space to talk about how they’re feeling with someone not connected to the situation
    • It might be to manage a particular issue such as anxiety, depression or a particular change in their behaviour
  • Parenting
    • Perhaps you need support with how to work together as parents to navigate your separation or a particular issue. Parenting support can help you develop effective strategies to help your child
  • Stress management
    • Divorce and separation are stressful so it can help to get additional support with managing the stress as well as managing the situation itself.

Not all services need to be paid for.  Some are provided free of charge.  You can also access podcasts, blogs, articles and books that may help to support you for a modest amount of money.

You may find the following suggestions helpful.

  • 101 Questions Answered about Separating with Children: A book put together by Only Dads and Only Mums with various professional contributors
  • Parenting Apart: How divorced and separated parents can raise happy and secure kids by Christina McGhee
  • Resolution are now offering a free online Early Help for separating parents course. This could be a useful first step if you want to understand more about how to support your children through your separation, and to avoid certain pitfalls that can unwittingly pull them into your conflict.
  • Young minds – for help with mental health issues in young people
  • Harmless – organisation with a focus on self-harm and suicide prevention
  • Papyrus is a charity that supports young people (or those living with young people) who may be feeling suicidal.
  • Kooth is an app aimed at assisting with mental health issues. It gives wellbeing tips and young people can access qualified professionals to talk to through the app.
  • Voices in the Middle is a charity set up to support young people whose parents are separating, or have separated. It is currently predominantly aimed at age 13 to 19 year olds but they intend to expand this work to lower age groups in due course.  It has online support for children in the 13 to 19 age category.
  • Deep breathing or mediation can help to calm and overwhelmed, over anxious or whirring mind. Apps like headspace, calm and breathing app (link for android phones here) may be useful.
  • Getting out into nature regularly. Studies have shown this is very beneficial for wellbeing.  It can be a 10 minute walk in the park – it doesn’t have to be a day long hike around a beauty spot.
  • Gentle exercise – again it can be a walk rather than a gym session. Think about the forms of exercise you enjoy.
  • You can self-refer for assistance with emotional issues and for talking therapies on the NHS via mindmattersnhs.co.uk.

For more information on resources local to you and help managing your separation in manageable steps find a mediator local to you and ask them any questions that you have.