Should I Allow My Adult Child with Mental Illness to Move Back into My Home?

Should I Allow My Adult Child with Mental Illness to Move Back into My Home?

As parents we are often faced with the challenging decision as to how to best support our adult children.  How much help is too much help? How do we decide when we are helping and when we are hurting the growth and maturity process that we so desire in our children? When you compound this question with factors such as chronic medical and mental health concerns, the picture can become even more difficult to sort out.

When thinking this question through, there are several factors to consider:


What is the purpose of your adult child coming home? Are you extending your home as a way to help save money, to provide a layer of supervision, and or to help you with various responsibilities? These are all valid purposes that I recommend are clarified and discussed between you and your adult child. It is sometimes wise to write out the purpose to ensure that there is agreement. One of the most common reasons for living arrangements to be unsuccessful is due to the lack of agreement around Issues of purpose.

Time frame

How long are you willing to house your adult child? Are you expecting it to be a short term solution to an immediate crisis? Or, have you decided that she/he can stay as long as they want or need your help? How will you both know that it is time for her/him to move on? I would strongly urge you to have an open conversation with your adult child, clarifying your intention and inquiring as to how long they anticipate utilizing housing assistance from you. The best scenario will be one in which you both understand the expectations of the other and are working on being respectful of those expectations.


Unmet expectation often arises from a lack of clarity around the responsibilities that are being ascribed to another. Before your adult child comes home, very clear expectations around who is responsible for what should be discussed and agreed upon. For example, are you expecting a financial contribution? If so, how much and how often do you expect payment? Are there household chores that you expect your child to participate in completing? If so, what are they, how often do you want them done and is there a special way to do them? It may be important to think of your adult child as an adult first and your child second when thinking about living together. This could aid in helping them continue to mature as adults, especially when and if they leave your home again.

Getting help

It’s important to get help in thinking through the option of allowing your adult child with a mental illness to move back into your home. It is always appropriate to seek advice from professionals. In many instances your adult child with mental illness is involved in treatment and may have a team of
professionals who are working with him/her and can shed light on this dilemma. For example, at MHA,we regularly engage family members and important individuals whom our members have identified to help them achieve their goals.

The long and short of it is that the decision to allow your adult child with mental illness to move home is a personal and individual decision based on many factors. Unfortunately, there isn’t a set answer that will fit every situation. However, with careful consideration, open and honest upfront discussion, and input from professionals, the best decision for you and your loved one can be attained.

Sylvia Wright, LMSW
Adult Treatment and Rehabilitative Services

MHA teams with NY Senator David Carlucci at Student Advisory Committee Meeting

By David Carlucci
Last night we hosted another informative Student Advisory Committee meeting with students from throughout the Hudson Valley.

I want to thank Nicole Sirignano and Sean Campbell of the Mental Health Association of Rockland County for conducting a thought provoking talk on suicide prevention.

If you or a family member is in crisis, please call the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

You can help improve healthcare in the Hudson Valley!

We are asking people who live in the Hudson Valley to take a completely anonymous 10 minute survey to tell us what they think about health needs in their communities. Your opinions are very important to us and will help us understand how to better meet your health care needs.

Click here for the survey.



safeTALK: Suicide Prevention Training, Wednesday, September 10, 2014

MHA of Rockland County will be offering a free safeTALK: Suicide Prevention Training on Wednesday, September 10 from 9am to noon.  Registration will be at 8:30 am.

Key elements of this training include:

• Recognize the warning signs of suicide
• Identify preventive resources and how to access them
• Apply the TALK (Tell, Ask, Listen, Keep Safe)
• Learn what effective safeTALK is and is not
• Prepare “front line” community leaders with valuable information
• Learn effective ways to connect well and build rapport
• Receive valuable information
• Practice and enhance active listening skills
• Practice and enhance skills making effective referrals to appropriate professionals

To register call 845-267-2172, x296.

To download a pdf flyer, click here.






Educating the Public about Mental Health

Mental health issues have long been misunderstood by the general public.  Unless you have a friend or relative with a mental health or substance abuse issue, you probably have no way to understand what the experience is like.

Many people believe that those suffering from mental illness are usually violent.  This is certainly not true.  In fact, a person with mental illness is much more likely to be the victim of violence than a perpetrator. There are many types of mental illness or disorders, and they are common. They include depression, anxiety, impulse control, personality disorders, adjustment disorders and psychotic disorders.

Someone suffering from a mental illness cannot just “snap out of it”.  If you have a blockage in an artery, you can’t just will it away; qualified help is needed.  In this regard, mental illness is the same.  Professional help might include being treated by a clinician and/or psychiatrist.  Peer support can also be extremely helpful.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a diagnosis that has recently become more understood by the public.  This usually happens following a tragic event or series of events.  And war veterans are not the only ones that suffer from this disorder. Anyone who experiences a traumatic event can be at risk.  Seeking help for someone suffering from PTSD should be encouraged.

To further understand mental health issues, you may want to read more about mental health statistics or mental health myths and facts, provided by the Mental Health Association of Rockland County.

Would you like to know how people with mental illness can lead fully satisfying lives and not be defined by their illness? If so, consider registering for a free, one-hour tour of MHA Rockland’s mission.