eNews October 2014

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In this edition


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We need your help! Can you spare 5 minutes?

Help COPMI learn more about child and family resilience and family recovery.

Child resilience, family resilience and family recovery are emerging concepts. Many families experiencing mental illness have told us that they wish there was a better understanding of these ideas, and more resources that they could use to help them to strengthen resilience in their children and family and to support family recovery. 

In response to this, the COPMI national initiative will be working with professionals and people with a lived experience of mental illness to develop new information and resources. 

We are currently gathering initial thoughts and comments through a range of surveys (below). These surveys will be our first step in the information-gathering process. The responses will help to inform more targeted surveys and focus groups and findings will be used to develop resources for families.

Do you have time and share your experience?

Simply choose the survey that best suits your experience. (You can complete all surveys if they apply to you). We estimate each survey will take between 5-15 minutes to complete (depending on how much you have to share with us!)

The COPMI team sincerely appreciate your time.

Implementation assistance for the new Let’s Talk About Childen method

A national implementation strategy for the new ‘Let’s Talk About Children’ method (Let’s Talk) is currently being undertaken by COPMI. The aim of this strategy is to improve availability and accessibility of this quality, evidence-based intervention for parents with a mental illness.
The Let’s Talk method helps professionals in adult mental health services to have a discussion with parents that explores the needs of the child, the impact of mental illness on them and the support that parents may need in their parenting role. 

Next steps

COPMI is now working with government and non-government mental health services to promote the eLearning course that trains professionals in this method and to identify Let’s Talk ‘Champions’. These Champions will be responsible for coordinating the implementation of Let’s Talk within their local area, including raising awareness and knowledge about the method and developing local action plans. 

For more information about the implementation strategy or to express interest in becoming a Champion, please contact Caroline Williamson on (08) 8367 0888 (or williamsonc@copmi.net.au).

Special opportunity for Victorian service-providers

Monash University is looking for partner services who are interested in being involved in a randomised control trial of the Let’s Talk approach in practice as part of the Victorian Department of Health’s Mental Illness Research Fund Grant.

The Grant aims to investigate how services can improve the longer-term recovery of people with severe mental illness by addressing their parenting role as a core part of their treatment. The control trial would include supported training in the Let’s Talk program to clinicians from Victorian mental health and family services, as well as support in the development of an implementation plan for the method.


Guides to support parents with mental illness and their teenagers

New guides are available for order by mental health professionals, 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 guide for parents helps them 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 (12 – 15 years) is available for parents to offer their children (or for practitioners to provide to them) in order to help teenagers to better understand their parent’s mental illness and access resources that might help them.

Please note:

  • The guides are NOT intended for general distribution. They are intended for professionals to provide to parents and children 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 who meet the criteria above via the link below. The guides and delivery are free (within Australia).


Grandparent carers Recognising grandparent carers

Sunday the 26th of October is Grandparents Day in Australia. It acknowledges the vital role that grandparents play in our society, both as custodians of individual and cultural memories and as providers of care, love and guidance to their children and grandchildren. Grandparents Day recognises the irreplaceable role grandparents have in their families and in the wider community.

For parents who become unwell with mental illness, grandparents often step in to help care for their grandkids, or even become full-time parents for the second time around. Grandparent’s Day is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate their contribution in these families.

This information may be helpful for grandparents who are caring for children when their parent is mentally unwell:

If you are a professional, this is the perfect time to stop and think about grandparent carers too. The report ‘Grandparents raising grandchildren: Towards recognition, respect and reward’ presents findings from the research project ‘Grandparents as Primary Carers of their Grandchildren: A National, State and Territory Analysis’. The research was conducted by the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.  

So let’s all take some time on October the 26th to stop and say thank you and remember the special moments that have been shared with older loved ones, and acknowledge the ways they have enhanced our lives. It’s a great way to bring the whole family together and to celebrate the invaluable role grandparents play in our community.

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