eNews March 2015

In this edition


Supporting infants and toddlers of parents with mental illness

The introductory eLearning course ‘Supporting Infants and Toddlers’ is for professionals working with parents experiencing mental illness who have infants and young children. It builds on the original introductory-level course, ‘Keeping Families and Children in Mind’ eLearning course.

The course covers:

  • the impact of mental illness on the family through the antenatal period
  • attachment, infant and toddler development
  • the principles of sensitive communication with parents regarding the needs of their children
  • strategies to support families.

Practical video demonstrations are featured throughout the course that illustrate putting concepts into practice, and video interviews include reflections from both parents and professionals.

Access the course now


To access all of the features you will require:

  • broadband internet access
  • an up to date version of your web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari)
  • a flash player (download Adobe Flash Player for free here).

Can you share this information?

Please help us to spread the word about this course by passing the link below onto relevant networks that can take advantage of the free skills training. http://aicafmha.createsend1.com/t/ViewEmail/j/EF090BC6A6DB87CC

Our sincere thanks.



A free guide for teenagers who have a parent with a mental illness

The COPMI national initiative has produced a guide specifically for young people from 12 to 15 years of age who have a parent with a mental illness. It is now available for the public to order – free of charge within Australia.

The guide is something that parents can offer to their children, or that practitioners can provide (directly to a teenager or offer to parents) to help them better understand their parent’s mental illness. It takes them through what mental illness is and how it affects people, and allows teenagers to reflect on their feelings and find ways of coping with their family situation.

Please note: This is a large file and may take some time to load. The format is intended to provide a preview of content only.

Order your copy now

Note: Professionals may order unlimited copies of the guide to provide to their parent clients. Please allow 30 days for delivery.



It’s National Playgroup Week: Learn about ‘supported playgroups’ for parents with mental illness

This week (from March 23 to 29) Australia celebrates National Playgroup Week. The event recognises the value of playgroups in the community, as one of the most popular and enduring activities for families who have young children.

Whilst the mainstream playgroup structure offers many benefits, families where there is a parent who experiences mental illness may find that their needs are not catered for in these groups. To help support these families, the Australian government provides funding to operate ‘supported playgroups’ across all states and territories.

What do they do?

Supported playgroups enable people who may not usually access a playgroup to strengthen the relationship with their child in a supportive environment, increase their skills and confidence, and to develop valuable social and family support networks. The difference in the ‘supported’ model is that these groups are run by a coordinator who is funded to manage the weekly sessions for a period of time (usually 3 to 12 months). Importantly, the coordinator will often work with the group to enable them to learn how to run their playgroup independently at the end of this period.

Set up your own playgroup for parents with mental illness

Organisations that are interested in setting up a supported playgroup can learn a lot from the ‘OurTime Manual’ that was developed specifically to help others by providing information about the development, implementation and evaluation of the Our Time Playgroup model. The manual includes practical information for the facilitators and parent peer leaders of these groups.

Organisations can contact the Playgroup Australia National Office on 1800 171 882 to discuss potential playgroup sites. Parents can also contact the state associations for information about local groups.



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