In this edition
- New COPMI Director appointed
- New e-learning course for supervisors
- An update from the National Lived Experience Forum
- The latest evidence-based research summary
- Is your program, support service or helpline listed?
Bradley Morgan has been newly appointed to the role of COPMI Director, following two years in the role of Workforce Development Officer.
Bradley brings to the role a strong background in rural health, including early childhood development, mental health and occupational therapy, and is excited about taking up the new challenge.
“It’s very exciting for me to be guiding the work of the COPMI team and supporting the fantastic work being done by many across Australia to improve outcomes for children and families where a parent experiences a mental illness.”
You can contact Bradley on (08) 8367 0888 (extension 21) or email email@example.com.
COPMI is pleased to announce the launch of a new e-learning course. The ‘Child Aware Supervision’ online training course has been designed specifically for supervisors and managers of front-line staff in the health and social services areas, to help them provide child and family-sensitive supervision strategies.
The course was developed in partnership with the Australian Centre for Child Protection and the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), with funds from the Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA).
The training is FREE, features engaging video demonstrations showing practical application, and is accessible 24/7 online – you can even access it all on your iPad!
This month, we asked National Lived Experience Forum member Lee-Anne Dawson to provide a report on the latest ‘CNLEF’ meeting.
“The latest COPMI National Lived Experience Forum face-to-face meeting was held in Sydney in March, and got off to an early start with all members agreeing to be ready for Sunday’s event at 8.30am.
We spent the first half of the day being treated to a Networking Workshop with the lovely Lydia and Sarah sharing valuable information regarding establishing and maintaining networks. One of our members has a huge network… 19 yrs in the making… Absolutely awesome! With our new understanding of networking, ideas for sharing our COPMI message were batted around the table with some decisions on how we could refine some of the process.
The afternoon was spent listening to members sharing their achievements and involvement with and for COPMI. Some were reviewing materials and resources while others were attending focus groups and media events. Others were making small but marvellous changes within their personal or professional fields as well as plans within their community. What grabbed my attention was the diversity and resilience within the group. Mental illness in families is not easy to live with and to see this courageous group of people using their lived experience to make a difference to children and families is truly a heart-warming and inspiring experience.
Amid the serious issues that were discussed there was laughter to be had, and random comments brought smiles to the group. The day finished with a sharing from some of the dads in the group who then received some well rounded support from all. My life is richer for having met these folk.”
Putting families at the centre of recovery
The COPMI ‘GEMS’ (Gateways to Evidence that MatterS) publications are short two-page summaries of evidence-based research designed for professionals, to assist in guiding work and highlighting current research and practice gaps.
The latest GEMS paper has just been published and looks at the importance of family-centred practice to better facilitate the recovery of the individual.
COPMI Lived Experience Representative Kerry Hawkins, who co-authored the paper, is a passionate champion of family-centred practice following a decade-long journey to help her husband become well and to keep her family together.
“John’s psychosis manifested about five years into our marriage, when our first child was born. Of course we didn’t know it was psychosis then.”
“What followed were 10 incredibly difficult years of true struggle, with long stretches of me alone with three small children and no money, isolated in cities I didn’t know. We moved city, and country, something like 13 times in six years. Meanwhile John’s psychosis became increasingly worse to the point where it was life threatening and he did indeed try to take his own life on several occasions, very nearly succeeding,” Kerry says.
“During this time, from his psychiatric diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia to beginning his recovery some ten years later, there was very little focus on the impact on our family or support systems in place to assist us as a unit or as part of John’s recovery. Keeping us together, ensuring our kids were safe and developing well, along with ensuring we were fed, clothed and housed, this was all incredibly tough.”
Today the Hawkins are concentrating on recovering as a family and, through her own experiences, Kerry is passionate about family-centred practice. She became involved in COPMI’s National Lived Experience Forum three years ago, seeing an opportunity to offer support to others that she had not received herself.
“Families can play an integral role in the recovery of an individual, and there are several fundamental changes that are needed to ensure that families, like mine, are supported and able to help their loved one recover.”
“From workforce changes and clinical practice that is more family-centred; to ensuring that clinics and hospitals are more family-friendly environments; to practical day-to-day support – help with cleaning, help with car repairs and so forth; not to mention a focus on helping children through their trauma. This is all essential to an individual’s recovery and helping families come out the other side positively and with growth.”
It is Kerry’s hope that by sharing her story and contributing to GEMS it will give professionals a better understanding of the importance of a family-centred practice.
The COPMI ‘Get Help’ website page offers listings of local programs, support services and helplines across Australia, that are related to children and families where there is parental mental illness.
Is your service listed here? Do you know of any COPMI-related services we can add?
Help others by helping us keep our listings as up-to-date as possible!