In this edition:
Thank you to all the parents, carers, young people, children and professionals who were involved in the development of the COPMI national initiative’s new child care plans.
Child care plans are an excellent communication tool for parents to outline their wishes for their child or children if things get tough. They are not legally binding documents, rather they are written to outline the family’s preferences and to maintain the everyday routines that a child needs to feel safe and secure when there’s a rough patch. They help people, including family members and health professionals, understand how best to support the child.
A child care plan functions as a ‘just in case’ plan and is best written when a parent is well. The new COPMI care plan templates are designed to help a parent to think about their child’s needs and to write the information into a plan in case of a crisis or a period of being unwell.
Both parents and professionals can access the COPMI child care plans and instructions on how to use them. If you are a professional working with parents who experience mental illness, or a partner, family member or support person, you can assist by helping the parent to reflect on the care plan worksheet and to identify people that could help. Similarly, parents who require support to complete the care plan, are encouraged to speak to their GP, health professional, friends or trusted family members.
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.
COPMI’s ‘My child’s support network’ guide is designed to help parents think about the relationships in their child’s life and ways to strengthen these to support their child and the family as well.
The exercises in the guide are best completed when a parent is well. Parents can work through the guide alone or with the support of friends, family, doctor or mental health professional.
The guide is designed to be used separately for each child in the family and it takes three steps to complete:
- Step 1: Identify the closest relationships in the child’s life.
- Step 2: Consider the role of each of these relationships in the 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 the 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 the child to keep the completed worksheet in a safe place.
The COPMI national initiative offers several interactive and evidence-based eLearning courses for professionals working with parents, children and families where a parent experiences mental illness.
Ranging from introductory level through to experienced, the courses are free, accessible online and endorsed by numerous professional associations for the accrual of CPD points.
Not only are they interactive and engaging, the courses are also available 24/7 and provide the option of resuming where a participant has previously left off, without any time limits.
The COPMI national initiative’s courses are endorsed for CPD points by the following professional associations:
- The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
- General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration (GPMHSC) Focused Psychological Strategies
- Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine
- The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses
- Australian Association of Social Workers
You can find out more about the CPD status, directly from the eLearning system.
Note: Members of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and Occupational Therapy Australia (OTA) can accrue CPD hours by participating in CPD activities that they determine to be relevant to their individual professional skills, learning plans and goals. These can be self-initiated. CPD activities do not need to be formally endorsed by the APS or OTA as required by the other institutions listed above.