eNews April 2014

In this edition


Valuable resources for inpatient settings

The COPMI national initiative asked an adult mental health service in Victoria to share how it supports children and families when a parent experiences mental illness and is being supported as an inpatient.

We thank Angela Obradovic (Chief Social Worker/Family Work Development Co-ordinator at the Northern Area Mental Health Service in Victoria) for sharing her organisation’s exemplary resources and approach with others.


Connect with practitioners who support families living with mental illness

The Mental Health Professionals’ Network (MHPN) and the COPMI national initiative are working together to support the establishment of interdisciplinary practitioner networks with a focus on supporting families living with parental mental illness.

The networks help to:

  • foster a collaborative care approach that directly benefits families
  • strengthen professional relationships and enhance referral pathways between local practitioners and services, and 
  • increase awareness of the relevant issues.

A new interest group has recently been created in Western Sydney and we encourage practitioners to consider starting new groups in their own local areas. (See below).

New Western Sydney COPMI network attracts respected guest speakers

The Western Sydney network’s first COPMI interest group meeting was held at Westmead Hospital in Sydney and attracted 12 practitioners. Two highly-credentialed guest speakers presented to the meeting: Psychiatrist, Dr Adrian Falkov presented “The Family Model- an integrated approach to supporting mentally ill parents and their children” and clinical psychologist, Dr Brendan New presented “COPMI issues of relevance to children and families in out-of-home care.”

The shared interest of those who attended ensured a lively and productive discussion. We look forward to welcoming new members to attend our future meetings,” said the network’s coordinator Dr Falkov.

If you would like to attend the Western Sydney COPMI network’s next meeting please email your details to L.Tyrrell@mhpn.org.au.

Contact MHPN to start a network in your area

If you’re interested in establishing a network with a focus on supporting families experiencing parental mental illness in your area, you’ll be supported the whole way. Simply provide your details via email and an MHPN project officer will be in touch to help you.

Alternatively, contact MHPN senior project officer Lauren Tyrell by phone on (03) 8662 6627 to learn more.


Family talking about mental illness

No-cost DVD for parents with depression /anxiety

  • Are you a parent who experiences depression and/or anxiety?


  • Are you a professional working with parents who experience depression and/or anxiety?

If you’re either of the above and live in Australia, you can benefit from ordering a free Family Focus DVD.

What does the DVD do?

The DVD offers parents who experience depression and/or anxiety the tools to start a discussion with their children and family about it.

Why talk about it?

Open family discussion can help reduce the risks to the one million Australian children who live with a parent who has depression or anxiety and are at risk of developing their own mental health problems.

The DVD helps families and children better understand their parent’s illness and start a conversation about it. This has been shown to strengthen children’s resilience and cope better.

What’s on the DVD?

The DVD features engaging fictional scenarios of a family where the father experiences depression, and another family where the mother experiences anxiety. There is a section for parents to view first, then a section specifically for children to view with their parent.

>Order DVDs here

*Professionals: There’s no limit to the number of DVDs you can order, so make sure you have copies on hand for the parents you work with. You can also access free training in the evidence-based Family Focus follow-up intervention here.


Progress with new resources

The COPMI national initiative staff have been working with professionals and family members to develop a range of new resources for families and the professionals that work with them. Here’s an update on progress with three new resoures:

Let’s Talk About Children – eLearning course

‘Let’s Talk’ is an eLearning resource for adult mental health professionals that provides training in a brief, structured discussion with parents who experience mental illness about parenting, the wellbeing and development of their children and how mental illness is understood by them. The online training includes implementation guides, video demonstrations and reflections from parents and professionals who have participated in these discussions.

Pilot testing of this resource has just been completed by mental health professionals and results will inform final amendments to the resource prior to a broader release. The Let’s Talk resource also includes a take-home resource for parents and a booklet that they can choose to share with their children. These resources share ideas and strategies that parents can apply to strengthen the resilience of their child and family.

Supporting Infants and Toddlers – eLearning course module

A new eLearning course module has been created – as an advanced add-on module to the ‘Keeping Families and Childen in Mind‘ course currently provided by COPMI. It provides learners with an overview of infant and toddler development, reflections from parents about parenting infants and toddlers when experiencing mental illness, and demonstrations of discussions with parents about infants and toddlers.

The course is currently being reviewed by mental health professionals and people with lived experience, whose feedback will inform final amendments before release of the course.

Pathways of Care in early childhood – website

A new online information resource has been created, for professionals working with either young children, parents with mental illness or families. The resource is designed to help professionals to reflect on the types of information and services that might assist young children, parents and families where a parent is experiencing mental illness. 

The resource is currently being reviewed and pilot tested in a range of settings so that improvements can be made before it is launched.

Are you interested in pilot-testing this resource? Send your contact details to copmi@copmi.net.au for more information. Your feedback could provide valuable guidance so that we can make amendments that will benefit future practitioners and families who will use the resource.

>Archived emails here