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All adults have a one in four chance of experiencing a period of mental illness in their lifetime. Parents constitute a substantial proportion of mental health users. Being a parent with mental illness is especially challenging. Children in these families are at greater risk of a range of mental health problems and adverse life experiences. Working directly with mental health users as parents and their children can have an immediate impact on the parents’ recovery process which safeguards the child. The Family Model as a conceptual framework identifies that there are risks, stressors and vulnerability factors increasing the likelihood of a poor outcome, as well as strengths, resources and protective factors that enable families to overcome adversity. Risk and protective factors interact with parental mental illness, child development and mental health, parenting and the parent-child relationship in a bidirectional manner. Over time, the complexity and multi-directionality become more complex as the child’s behaviour impacts on the parent’s mental health, the parent’s mental health impacts on his or her parenting and the parent’s mental state and style of parenting affect the child’s behaviour. This one day course will focus on how to use the Family Model effectively in working with families as a reflective tool as part of the safeguarding process, but also as a tool to facilitate parental motivation. We will also focus on how to communicate with children and young carers effectively in a way that they will find supportive. ‘Think Family, Think Child, Think Parent‘is at the core whilst working with parental mental health and safeguarding children and young people.

Who is Parental Mental Ill Health aimed at?

Anyone working with children and families

Course Length

1 day

Learning Outcomes

On conclusion of the course, participants will have:

  • Considered values and assumptions in relation to working with parents where mental illness is a central feature
  • Developed a deeper understanding of the nature of mental illness, diagnosis and current thinking in mental health in relation to the importance of families in the recovery process
  • Gained knowledge to key aspects in research around parental mental health and the impact on parenting ability
  • Developed a working understanding of the Family Model as a central tool to think about the family within a systemic framework
  • Gained an understanding of how children experience parental mental health and their needs
  • Developed skills in how to engage the parent in a framework that enhances parental responsibility and recovery
  • Developed skills in how to communicate with children about the parent’s mental health that will strengthen resilience and recognise their voices as central

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