Helping Families is a multi-disciplinary team based in the National and Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

The Team offers community-based specialist parenting interventions and support to parents with significant mental health problems that affect their parenting and family life, who are living in south-east London and surrounding areas.

We work alongside parents who experience a range of mental health challenges and illnesses that impact on their ability to parent in the way they aspire to – including:

  • depression and anxiety,
  • interpersonal and emotion regulation difficulties
  • psychosis and complex trauma

“…Now we have a loving relationship and we are more connected”

The Helping Families Programme in practice

Our approach is future-orientated and strengths-focused and we aim to build a meaningful and purposeful partnership with the parent from the start.  We typically work with families over a period of six months and engage actively with the network of professionals involved with the family.  Engagement is facilitated by proactive and assertive outreach in family homes, community centres and parks.

The initial six weekly sessions are focussed on parents and practitioners developing a shared understanding of the ways in which parents’ strengths, difficulties and circumstances affect their parenting and ability to look after their children. The remaining fourteen sessions focus on helping families to achieve realistic and meaningful goals focussed on parenting, children’s development and welfare, and improving family life. Evidence-based techniques to support emotion regulation are modelled throughout the intervention to enable the parents to make positive choices about their parenting.

“It helped me learn how to calm down, cope with the depression, [and] helped me set boundaries for them”

How you can be referred to the Helping Families Team

Parents are usually referred by a professional already involved with them or their children’s care. This includes care co-ordinators, psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers who work closely with the Team to support and empower the families that are referred.

Contact the Helping Families Team via our email –

“it helped me not to give up”

“I am empowered every session to be a better me, without stress”