eNews August 2015

In this edition


‘My child’s support network’ – a new COPMI guide

Having access to supportive relationships can help a child to thrive. These relationships can also support parents and strengthen the whole family when a parent experiences a mental illness.

The ‘My child’s support network’ guide has been developed in partnership with parents who live with a mental illness, their children and supporters. It is designed to help parents think about the relationships in their child’s life and ways to strengthen these to support their child and family.

Use of the guide

The guide is designed to be used separately for each child in the family. The three steps include:

  • Step 1:
    Identify the closest relationships in a child’s life.
  • Step 2:
    Consider the role of each of these relationships in a child’s life and how these connections could be strengthened, so that they can be used in tough times, or during times of major change.
  • Step 3:
    Offer a child the ‘My connections’ worksheet to help them identify the people in their life that they feel comfortable to contact if they need or want to. Invite them to keep the completed worksheet in a safe place.

Access the guide now


A mental health ‘toolkit’ – for parents and families

One of the COPMI national initiative’s major projects over the last 12 months has been the development of a mental health ‘toolkit’ for parents, to help them to strengthen the social and emotional wellbeing of their children.

The resource is intended to be an online guide with interactive elements that are supported by printable worksheets that can be used by parents and family members.

The concepts for the toolkit were initially developed by professionals and then reviewed by parents who have a lived experience of mental illness and their families. We are now refining the resources by integrating their feedback.

The toolkit will contribute to the introduction of new information on the COPMI website over the next months. Further updates will appear in future editions of this eNewsletter.

‘Let’s talk’ champion workshops – creating new leaders

‘Champion’ workshops are now being organised across Australia to support the implementation of the ‘Let’s talk about children’ (Let’s Talk) method in adult mental health services.

The ultimate goal is to train services to become more sensitive to child and parent needs and therefore improving outcomes for children and families where a parent has a mental illness.

What is a ‘champion’?

Let’s Talk champions are responsible for coordinating the implementation of the Let’s Talk method within their local service. They are responsible for raising awareness and sharing knowledge about the method within their team and developing an action plan using an implementation guide to ensure it becomes embedded in routine clinical practice.

Ideally, the individuals trained as champions have experience or have demonstrated a commitment to child and family-sensitive practice and are motivated to improve service delivery. Champions are required to have completed the Let’s Talk eLearning course (either face-to-face or online) and have experience using the method in practice with at least two families (providing the opportunity to reflect on the experience and implementation issues).

Workshop progress

To date, workshops for new champions have been held in Canberra, Brisbane and Perth, and arrangements are underway to include Sydney and Darwin.

The COPMI national initiative is keen to hear from mental health practitioners across Australia who are interested in being trained as a local Let’s Talk champion. Please email copmi@copmi.net.au for more information.


The third edition of text for mental health professionals

The third edition of ‘Parental Psychiatric Disorder’ is now available for purchase.

This text presents an innovative approach to thinking about and working with families where a parent has a mental illness. With 30 new chapters from an internationally renowned author team, it presents the current state of knowledge in this critically important field.

Issues around prevalence, stigma and systems theory provide a foundation for the book, which offers new paradigms for understanding mental illness in families. The impact of various parental psychiatric disorders on children and family relationships are summarised, including coverage of schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, substance abuse disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders and trauma. Multiple innovative interventions are outlined, targeting children, parents and families, as well as strategies that foster workforce and organisational development.

Incorporating different theoretical frameworks, the book enhances understanding of the dimensions of psychiatric disorders from a multigenerational perspective, making this an invaluable text for students, researchers and clinicians from many mental health disciplines.


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