eNews September 2015


KidsMatter hosts COPMI webinar – tonight

Attention early childhood services, schools, health and community professionals

Join KidsMatter for a free webinar:

What: ‘Supporting children of parents with a mental illness, in schools and early childhood services’
When: 7.30pm to 8.30pm AEST (Tuesday Sept. 15)
Where: Online, from your computer via this link.

About the event

The webinar will feature an interdisciplinary panel discussion that explores the challenges faced by Kyra (aged 10) and her brother Declan (aged 3) who have a mother with a mental illness. Their father is often away from home, working to financially support the family.

The panel will discuss different ways to recognise and respond to the needs of the children within their early childhood service and school, including how to strengthen relationships and networks to support their social and emotional wellbeing. The case study will be used as a tool to orient these discussions.

Panellists are:

  • Mr Brad Morgan (Director, Children of Parents with a Mental Illness national initiative – COPMI)
  • Ms Laura Francis (Community Development Coordinator, based in South Australia) 
  • Ms Elizabeth Thomas (Retired School Principal, based in Victoria)
  • Facilitator: Ms Vicki Cowling, OAM (Social Worker and Psychologist, based in Victoria)
Register now

Reserve your spot and read through the pre-webinar case study.


Resources for Mental Health Week 2015

Mental Health Week 2015 (October 2 to 10) is right around the corner. It is held every October and coincides with World Mental Health Day on October 10.

The event aims to raise community awareness about mental health and to promote social and emotional wellbeing for all. It encourages individuals to look at their health potential, and helps families, individuals and communities to enhance their coping capacity and to increase mental health recovery.

This year the Mental Health Commission has partnered with the Western Australia Association for Mental Health to coordinate events around Australia that recognise both Mental Health Week and World Mental Health Day.

The three objectives for Mental Health Week 2015 are reflected in the theme; ‘Act-Belong-Commit’:

  1. Encourage help-seeking behaviour
  2. Reduce the stigma associated with mental illness
  3. Foster connectivity throughout communities.

To do this, the campaign focuses on a simple, personal promise that can be made by anyone, regardless of their own mental health situation. Post a ‘mental health promise’ to yourself, then view the public page!

Order resources now 

It’s a great time to ensure your organisation has plenty of resources available during the month of October.

Don’t put it off. Order today (Tuesday September 15) so that COPMI resources reach you in time.


Child Aware practice – learn how 

‘Child Aware’ practice is an emerging concept in Australia. With the focus on supporting parenting and improving outcomes for children, adult services are being asked to consider the parenting role and needs of parents’ children.

Child Awareness involves building a workplace culture that embraces a range of practices and attitudes that aim to keep the ‘child in mind’. This practice needs to occur from a client’s first contact with a service through to their follow-up.

Does your organisation or workplace support child and family-sensitive practice? What is your current approach to Child Aware practice or Child Aware supervision?

Interactive online training – free 

Through a collaborative approach, bringing together national initiatives with a shared interest in vulnerable children, a free Child Aware practice eLearning course has been developed. The partnership between the Australian Centre for Child Protection, the COPMI national initiative (and drawing on collaboration with the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction) received funding by the Australian Government through the Protecting and Nurturing Children: Building Capacity Building Bridges initiative.

This high-quality, interactive training focuses on specific video scenarios, which are partnered with a useful workbook. The workbook contains exercises, discussion starters and reflective questions that can be used in a range of settings (e.g. staff meetings, professional development, team and management meetings) by practitioners, team leaders, managers and organisations.

A second course supporting practice change – also free

To support the implementation of Child Aware practice (and with an understanding that practice change needs to be supported throughout an organisation), the Child Aware supervision eLearning course has also been developed.

This course provides training for supervisors in strategies that promote child and family-sensitive practices in their service. It was also developed as a partnership with the Australian Centre for Child Protection, the COPMI national initiative and the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction and was funded by the Australian government through the Child Aware initiative.

Child Aware supervision describes an approach that supervisors of frontline workers use to promote child and family-sensitive practices in their work with clients who have families. This approach incorporates attitudes, strategies and techniques that enable workers (and organisations) to identify and respond to the needs of a client’s children. It continually aims to build the capacity of adult-focused workers and is grounded in reflective practice, based on knowledge and experience, along with an organisational commitment to identify and respond to parenting and the needs of children.

Already completed a COPMI eLearning course?

For new users:


Let’s Talk training in Darwin

The COPMI national initiative is offering a free, face-to-face training workshop in the evidence-based intervention ‘Let’s talk about children’ (Let’s Talk).

We would like to invite practitioners working in adult mental health settings, primary health care and non-government organisations in the Northern Territory to attend this training.

About Let’s Talk

It is estimated that 23% of children live in households where at least one parent has a mental illness. Let’s Talk provides a brief, evidence-based method that supports conversations with parents about their child’s development and wellbeing and strategies to manage the impact of their mental illness on the parent-child relationship. It also explores opportunities to strengthen networks of support for the family.

Let’s Talk has been demonstrated to improve parents’ recovery from mental illness, to support healthy parent-child relationships, and to promote protective factors for a child’s wellbeing.

Darwin workshop

The face-to-face workshop compliments the free training available to professionals online. It is particularly helpful for practitioners who are interested in implementing Let’s Talk within their service so that it becomes a routine part of practice. The practical sessions involve discussion of visual demonstrations of the method, with an opportunity to discuss Let’s Talk in practice.

The workshop has been scheduled for Friday October 30, from 9am to 4pm.
Questions? Contact the COPMI office.


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