Growing together: support for parents and young children

Do you…?

  • live in Islington or have an Islington GP?
  • have a common mental health problem such as low mood or anxiety?
  • have a child between 1-5 years old? Do they struggle with eating, sleeping or behaviour?

Growing Together can help.

Growing Together is a service that helps both adults and children (aged 1-5) in a family with their mental health and wellbeing. This might be problems with emotions, behaviours and or relationships. We welcome families from diverse backgrounds and cultures and individuals who identify as LGTBQ+.

You might be feeling stressed out and overwhelmed like Ben:

“I feel really overwhelmed by being a parent. It’s impossible to figure out how to help my son with his behaviour- nothing I try seems to work!”

You might be feeling down, low and tearful like Nadia:

“I feel really tearful and upset most of the time. I’ve got no energy and I’m always tired. I don’t do things with my son and it’s hard to give him the amount of attention he wants from me. I’m just a terrible parent.”

You might be feeling anxious like Alex:

“I’ve always been a worrier but since my daughter was born it’s got worse. I’m constantly worried about her. I’m keep checking that she’s ok, even at night, and reading lots of advice websites. I’m concerned it is affecting her because she can be very clingy.”

The way you’re feeling may be impacting on your relationships like Vanessa:

“I feel frustrated and irritated by other people all the time. I’ve fallen out with family and friends. I get annoyed with my child and my partner. I feel very alone.”

You might have experienced a trauma (e.g. violence, accident, war or a difficult bereavement) like Abdul:

“Things have been really difficult since then. Both me and my son feel afraid and on edge all the time and I’m not sure what to tell him about what happened. I’m worried that he won’t feel safe again and he used to be so outgoing.”

What support is available?

We can work with you in different ways, and sometimes a combination of these works best.

Adult Mental Health
We can offer therapies to tackle common adult mental health issues like depression and anxiety, including CBT and other therapies. Therapy often involves understanding how the past influences you, as well as developing ideas for things you can do differently in the here-and-now. We offer a range of interventions and tailor the support we offer to each individual family. Our team is made up of Clinical Psychologists, Child Psychotherapists and Family Therapists.

Family Therapy
This therapy believes that the way people interact with others, influences the way individuals think, act and feels about themselves and their difficulties. It focuses on relationships and ways that people in families interact in the present, and how this might be influenced by the family’s experiences, history and surroundings.

In Family Therapy we use talking and other ways of communicating. We may ask you to think about inviting a range of different people from the family to attend.

Family Therapy helps people in close relationships:
• think about how to help each other
• express and explore difficult thoughts and emotions safely
• understand each other’s experiences and views
• build on strengths in their relationship
• make changes in their relationships and lives.

For more information pleaseclick here

Couples Co-parent Clinic
A systemic intervention offered to parent couples who want to improve their communication, strengthening the couple relationship as a resource for adult and child mental health.

We can see parents who are in relationships or separated and co-parenting. The clinic is suitable for any two people that co-parent a child together: for example a parent and grandparent could attend.

Parent-Infant Psychotherapy
We work with parents and children to help them communicate better and enjoy each other. The therapist helps parents to think about their child’s play, emotions and behaviour. Parents also have opportunities to reflect on their own experience of being a child and how they would like to care for and set limits for their child.

Integrated Family Work
We can work with parents to understand what might be causing or keeping a problem going. When we understand the problem better, we can think together to work out some solutions. This might involve changes in routines, rules, or strategies. We always work with parents to find solutions that fit their family’s needs.

MindSkills
This course aims to help parents who feel low in mood, anxious, stressed or lacking in confidence. Being a parent can be tough so it offers you a chance to learn more about worry and low mood and learn different ways of handling these times. The course is based on cognitive behavioural principles, which have been researched and found to be effective in helping with these problems.

The course is practical and the aim is to help you to develop skills to use in your day to day life. For that reason, it includes exercises to do during each session and between sessions, as well as helpful summary hand outs that you can keep.

Mellow Parenting Group
Growing Together runs Mellow Parenting groups for mums who would like support with the challenges of parenting. It’s a day-long group in which group members share with each other their ideas and experiences, while their children attend a crèche. In the morning, mums are given a space to think about their own experiences, both past and present. At lunchtime the mums, children and group facilitators all eat together and take part in a fun activity with the children. In the afternoon we think about parenting and how to understand and manage children’s behaviour. Videos of group members with their child are used to help promote discussion about parenting challenges, and to receive advice and support from the group. Click here for more information.

Growing Together Workshops
The Growing Together team offers various workshops. These workshops are offered in the form of one-off sessions which aim to provide help to parents in common areas that they may be struggling with.

  • – The Calmer Nights Sleep Workshop explores ways to improve both parents’ and children’s sleep and offers support to help parents feel more confident about their family’s routine.
  • – The Mindfulness & Parenting workshop explores how mindfulness can help bring some calm to family life. The workshop aims to help parents to focus their attention on the present moment while parenting.

No referral is needed to join these workshops, if you are interested in joining one of our workshops you can sign up on our Eventbrite page here.
Please note that you can only register 4-6 weeks prior the workshop and we would also like to know if you cannot attend as spaces do fill up quickly.

“I really enjoyed the workshop. It was good to talk to other parents and get tips”
“Very friendly staff, was a brilliant workshop”
‘It was useful sharing my experiences [with other parents].’
‘All of the techniques and tools given to us regarding what we can do with our little ones!’
‘Learning how to deal with our own emotions as well as our children’s emotions.’

Where would I see someone?

We work with families in various community locations in Islington, like children’s centres or health centres.
We are available during the Covid-19 pandemic and can offer a range of remote sessions such as phone or video calls.

How can I see the Growing Together team?

If you think that Growing Together could help your family, then please speak with your health visitor, GP, or someone from your local Children’s Centre, nursery or school. They can talk to you about what support you would like and contact Growing Together for you.

Alternatively, you can self-refer, by calling iCope on 0303 123 1000.

One of the therapists from Growing Together will then telephone you to arrange a meeting with you.

We are a partnership between iCope, Adult Mental Health service (Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust) and Child and Adolescent Mental Health services (Whittington Health NHS Trust) and information is shared between the two NHS Trusts.
For more information please visit here

How can I get involved?

We want parents to be involved in Growing Together in as many different ways as possible – in fact many parents helped us choose our name and service logo.

If you have any ideas or would like to help us think about ways we can improve our service, we would love to hear from you. Call us on 0203 316 1824 or email us at growingtogether@nhs.net to get involved.