Families where a parent has a mental illness
All families need a network of support. As a parent or carer with a mental illness there may be times where you want or need extra support for you or your family.
The following steps may be useful:
Sharing Information - Talk About Mental Illness
- Sharing age appropriate information with children and young people helps them to understand mental illness.
- Open communication with children and young people can build shared understanding in families.
- Most children worry less about something if they understand it.
- It is also important that children know mental illness is not their fault.
- Giving children an opportunity to ask questions can help reduce any concerns they may have.
- Children often express great relief knowing their parent is safe, or getting support.
- Storybooks and fact sheets can help explain mental illness.
- The National COPMI (Children of Parents with a Mental Illness) website has some helpful information and ideas. The website contains fact sheets, video links and information about mental illness for children and young people.
- How Can I Help My Child? A flip book for parents with a mental illness.
- 'Talking with' Series
Parenting can be a tough job. All families need a network of support. Think about:
- Support for Yourself – you may want assistance with parenting and relationships, health issues including mental health and/or drug and alcohol concerns, finances, housing etc. Some parents may be eligible for NDIS support.
- Support for your Family - many services offer information and support for family members.
Peer support groups for children (CHAMPS) and young people (Space4Us) are run by the FaPMI program – see group program information
- Set up a Support Network for yourself and your family – this could include family and friends, peer groups, community workers, or professionals who specialise in this area. Parenting groups, playgroups and sporting clubs also help families connect to others.
- It is important to find what works for you and your family – some supports available include:
- Parentline - confidential and anonymous telephone counselling and support on parenting issues. Available 8am to midnight, seven days a week including public holidays. Ph: 13 22 89
- Parentzone - supports for families in the Eastern region - provides parent resources and services including groups, newsletter and links to other family supports
- Raising Kids Network - the Australian parenting website with articles, emails and apps from pregnancy to teens.
- Have a care plan for your family in case you become unwell, if you need to access immediate support or if you need to go to hospital
- A family care plan can help minimise worry. It can help you organise care arrangements for your children so you have supports ready. It helps to outline what you and your children would like to happen, including usual routines and ways of staying in touch.
- Include the whole family when you make your family care plan.
- This Family Care Plan (PDF 190KB) outline might help you write your own.
- Last Modified: Thursday, June 17, 2021