When both parents have mental health issues there is no healthy role model for children…
Shimon was the youngest child in a large family. His parents divorced when he was a toddler. In addition, both parents struggled with mental health issues. Despite the stress that it caused him, Shimon, as children do, saw them as a part of his life. They were simply a part of his everyday existence. As Shimon was growing up, his mother was not stable enough for him to live with her, so he lived with his dad. As he neared adolescence, his father stopped taking his mental health medication and Shimon was forced to find alternative housing with a distant elderly relative as a result. Shimon was alone.
A Healthy Role Model can be a lifesaver
Luckily, someone in Shimon’s neighborhood saw Shimon’s situation and understood that he could really use a healthy role model especially as he was about to embark on adolescence. Shimon was introduced to his mentor, Menachem, through Kav L’Noar’s mentoring program. Upon reflection, Shimon says that Menachem was a “lifesaver.” Shimon shared all the details of his difficult life with Menachem who managed to listen and help Shimon become aware of his feelings and needs and how to deal with them, all without condemning Shimon’s family for their shortcomings. Menachem even taught Shimon how to play guitar and express his feelings through music which was really helpful.
Shimon started to thrive in school and is now finishing a Bachelor’s degree and starting a family of his own. He says that he couldn’t have done any of it without Menachem. “I was sad, angry, and alone and I didn’t even realize it. Menachem was there for me and showed me how to express my feelings and take responsibility for my path in life.”