The Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) national initiative has developed the pathways of care resource for professionals working with parents who experience mental illness and their families. It offers the opportunity to map out services within a community that families are connected with (or could connect with) to support their needs.
The resource considers the needs of the child, the parent with mental illness and the family and prompts professionals to reflect on how they can:
- promote engagement with social activities and groups
- create connections with services to support general health and development
- foster positive emotional wellbeing for everyone.
The pathways of care resource can be used in several different ways:
- As a resource for starting collaborative conversations with parents
- As a research tool on behalf of a parent
- As a professional reflective exercise
- As a team reflective exercise
- As an organisational mapping tool
Use with parents
We recommend for this resource is be used in collaboration with parents to consider their needs, the needs of their child and the needs of their family. The resource looks in particular at opportunities within their own family, their social networks and their community.
Ideally, you would follow the process below:
- Sit with parents and explain why each of the areas of support are important and influence one another.
- Go through each arm of support, starting with ‘supporting the child’ to look at building child understanding and emotional security and to promote child health and development.
- Consider services in the local area that parents can access for support with mental health difficulties.
- Consider the supports that are available in the area to strengthen family relationships.
- As you discuss these needs, parents will be able to short-list the best options to meet their family’s needs.
Use with professionals and teams
You may choose to use the pathways of care resource as a reflective exercise to map your existing knowledge of community supports. This can be used individually or as part of a team or an organisation as a way of pooling collective knowledge.
When using the pathways of care resource you will be prompted to reflect on the information and services that you or your team currently work with and can identify. Identifying knowledge gaps can encourage you to increase your awareness of some of the universal and community-based resources and services that may be available in your area. This can then help you to identify services to collaborate with in order to meet the needs of children, parents and families. You can add new information to your list of options over time.
- Access the pathways of care resource
- Find more information for professionals to support children and families where a parent experiences mental illness