- The role of early childhood services supporting families where a parent has a mental illness
- COPMI booklets – order yours
- Planning, implementing, evaluating evidence-based practice
- ‘Helping my child and family’ – information for parents
Latest evidence-based research summary
A new ‘GEMS’ (Gateway to Evidence that MatterS) publication has just been released. It’s a short, two-page summary of evidence regarding the role of early childhood services in supporting families where a parent experiences a mental illness.
Children who are exposed to the risk factors associated with parental mental illness are not widely recognised as ‘at risk’ within the early childhood and care (ECEC) sector, often lacking recognition that they require assistance. Yet this setting can create stability for children, help to support parent-child interaction, provide accurate supportive information and encourage families to engage in the community.
Read about how ECEC services can help parents and families by working in partnership with them (and other services) and by building staff capacity.
- Read the GEMS summary
- Read previously published GEMS summaries
- View the COPMI and KidsMatter webinar ‘Supporting children of parents with a mental illness, in schools and early childhood services’
For parents, families and professionals who work with them
The three COPMI booklets on the left are available to order at no cost. Each booklet was developed in conjunction with families who have a lived experience of a parents’ mental illness (and also workers, academics and policy makers).
(Free postage in Australia)
- The Best for Me and My Baby was developed with and for women with a mental health condition or mental illness (and their partners) who are thinking about having a baby, are new parents or are about to have a baby. It encourages health professionals and parents to work together to manage mental health during pregnancy and early parenthood and provides tips for parents and for supporting family and friends.
- Family Talk contains information and tips for parents with mental health problems, their children, other family members and support people. Topics include answering questions, discussing things as a family and planning for times when the parent may be unwell. Also included are ‘press out’ cards for children and young people to use to record their important phone numbers.
- Piecing the Puzzle Together is for people living with mental illness or a mental health condition whose children are aged between two and seven years. It contains helpful ideas about parenting when you’re unwell, and ways to support your child’s development during the early years.
Valuable information for professionals
If you are a professional running a program, intervention or research related to children and families in the mental health area, it’s critical that you evaluate its outcomes. It helps you to understand what’s working and what isn’t, helps you to plan for future interventions and apply for funding, and enables you to add to the pool of evidence about these types of approaches.
If you’re new to planning an evidence-based program, intervention or research, read the page below:
Evaluation to gauge success
The resources at the link below provide technical help for your evaluation, including a list of measures that are relevant to approaches with young people, families, the workforce and community.
- Evaluating your intervention
- New Child Family Community Australia article on ‘how to choose an outcomes measurement tool’
Mental illness is a family experience. Many parents with a mental illness (and their partners) have expressed the desire to know how they can support their child and family who also experience the impact of mental illness.
The COPMI website’s ‘helping my child and family’ section provides useful planning and talking tools for parents and families. It encourages parents to think ahead about the ways in which they can support their children and the family unit, during tough times and when things are running more smoothly.
The section features information on:
- Keeping connected when you’re unwell (or in hospital)
- Talking about mental illness with your child (including information for different age groups)
- Your child’s support networks
- About ‘care plans’ (preparing for a mental health crisis)
- Talking to your child’s school about your mental illness
- Maintaining routines to support a sense of security for your child
- Managing household chores and roles
- When you are worried about your child’s mental health