Mother to tackle mental health issue for parents of troubled teens

Counsellor Sharon du Preez wants to help parents with older children going through a tough time after she experienced ...

Counsellor Sharon du Preez wants to help parents with older children going through a tough time after she experienced problems as a parent.

A mother left socially isolated by her child's battle with depression wants to support parents facing a similar issue.

Sharon du Preez has moved to Marlborough from Wellington for a fresh start and wants to help others.

The mother-of-two watched helplessly for three years while one of her children refused treatment for severe depression and possible behavioural issues.

She says a lack of support for her and her husband in Wellington has prompted her to offer help in Marlborough.

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With a degree in counselling, Sharon, who asked for her children not to be named, has also studied adolescent development and is a life coach. She believes her first-hand experiences make her well placed to be a source of strength to others.

She says being in the mental health profession was "a disadvantage" when it came to seeking help, because people thought she knew what to do.

"We went through absolute hell.

"The children were wonderful but when the teenage years arrived it all changed for one who didn't want to be helped.

"I started to feel quite alienated. I couldn't talk to friends about it all the time as it quickly became old.

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"If there had been a group of people I could turn to who understood, I honestly believe it would have made a difference," she says.

The new group will run on Wednesdays from 12.15pm in Springlands, in Blenheim, and is limited to seven people.

If there is a need, Sharon, who has herself suffered from depression as a result of her child's mental health battle, is happy to arrange other meeting times.

The cost is $5 and the sessions are not time limited.

"When you feel useless and can't do anything, it's about gaining confidence and taking small steps. When I wanted to stay in bed all day I knew I had to get up and get myself out of the hole I was in.

"I'll cover a topic each week which we can talk about and then go through other issues as they come up.

"People can stay as long as they like. I take a very solution-based approach and instead of focusing on what we can't do, I focus on what we can," she says.

For further information email or visit

 - The Marlborough Express


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