eNews May 2015

In this edition


New ‘toolkit’ resource for parents with mental illness

COPMI has been working on a new online resource for parents experiencing mental illness. This resource has been developed in partnership with parents who live with mental illness, their children, carers and supporters. 

What’s it about?

The resource has been developed for parents who experience mental illness. It is intended to be a ‘toolkit’ of practical information and exercises to help them reflect on opportunities to strengthen parent-child relationships and support family recovery when a parent experiences mental illness.

At the centre of the resource is a series of videos featuring family members sharing personal experiences and insights into:

  • parenting with a mental illness
  • supporting child wellbeing
  • strengths that helped their family to cope and grow through tough times
  • keeping connected with children when parents are unwell
  • communicating as a family about a parent’s mental illness.

A printable journal will also be available as part of the resource, that includes reflective questions and practical tools to assist parents to develop a family ‘Living well’ plan.

For more information about the development and release of this resource, keep your eye on the COPMI national initiative’s eNews email in the coming months.  


Schizophrenia Awareness Week 2015

Next week is Schizophrenia Awareness Week in Australia (17 to 23 May). It’s an annual event that provides an opportunity to raise awareness about schizophrenia and the experiences of individuals and families.

More than 230,000 Australians currently experience schizophrenia, and up to a million Australians are now involved as carers of someone with schizophrenia (with many of these being young carers).

Take a minute to increase your understanding about the experiences of individuals and families who live with schizophrenia:

If you are caring for someone with a mental illness and want information about services that may help you, contact Mi Networks – it’s a free call on 1800 985 944.

Over the next weeks, let’s all take the time to learn something more about this common but seldom discussed mental illness. By understanding schizophrenia we can help to fight stigma and improve the lives of people who experience it, and their families. 


Guides to support parents with mental illness and their teenagers

Two guides are available for order by mental health professionals. The guides are to be used with parents who experience mental illness and are being supported via the Let’s Talk About Children method or the Family Focus approach.

The first guide (‘How can I help my child?’) helps parents to reflect on their illness and symptoms (including the impact on their parenting) and offers practical tips on how to strengthen child and family resilience. A second guide for teenagers aged 12-15 years (‘When your parent has a mental illness’) is available for parents to offer their children. It aims to help teenagers to better understand their parents’ mental illness and access resources that might help them.

Please note:

  • The guide for parents is not intended for general distribution. The purpose of the guide is for professionals to provide it to parents as part of the Let’s Talk About Children method or the Family Focus approach. (Training in each is available for free online.)
  • These are very large files and may take some time to download. They are intended to preview content only (not for circulation).

Order hard copies

Hard copies of the guides can be ordered by professionals in Australia for free (including delivery) via the link below.


Kerry’s story: Broken brain, broken hearts…

‘Broken brain, broken hearts, shattered dreams, false starts – how to grow up solid when everything is broken.’

A COPMI lived experience representative, Kerry Hawkins, wrote this courageous narrative about her and her family’s experience of mental illness. The Australian College of Mental Health Nurses published the article in their Spring News Magazine last year.

Kerry’s story is important to read, for professionals and families alike. It describes the profound impact of parental mental illness on the whole family, the despair of trying to find help in a system that was unable to provide it and the strength, courage and perseverance needed from all family members to work towards recovery.

We thank Kerry for taking the time to share her story so that others may benefit from her family’s experience. It’s a very powerful story that you will not forget.



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