Mental illness and substance abuse

The latest material added to the Australian Institute of Family Studies library database is displayed, up to a maximum of 30 items. Where available online, a link to the document is provided. Many items can be borrowed from the Institute's library via the Interlibrary loan system.

See more resources on Mental illness and substance abuse in the AIFS library catalogue

Are young carers less engaged in school than non-carers? Evidence from a representative Australian study.

Hamilton M and Redmond G
Child Indicators Research 24 May 2019: Advance online publication
This article adds to what is known about the poorer school outcomes of young people with caring responsibilities. It investigates whether there are differences in school engagement depending on the underlying issue of the person being cared for, using data from the Australian Child Wellbeing Project for 5,220 children aged 8-14 years old. The study finds little difference in the school engagement of non-carers and young carers of people with disability, but the school engagement of young carers of people with a mental illness or using alcohol/drugs is significantly lower. Young carers who themselves have a disability have even lower levels of engagement.

Australian Burden of Disease Study: impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra, ACT : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2019.
Every year in Australia, millions of years of healthy life are effectively lost because of injury, illness or premature deaths: the 'burden of disease'. This report provides estimates of the total, non-fatal and fatal burden for the Australian population in 2015, using the disability-adjusted life years (DALY) measure. DALY estimates are presented for more than 200 diseases and conditions - including mental health and injuries - as well as estimates of the burden attributable to more than 30 risk factors, such as tobacco use and physical inactivity. Comparisons are included for males and females, across age groups, and against the 2003 and 2011 report findings. The methodology is also discussed. A particular finding is that 38% of the estimated burden could have been prevented by addressing lifestyle risk factors.

Adverse childhood experiences and school readiness outcomes: results from the Growing Up in New Zealand study

University of Auckland. Centre for Social Data Analytics, New Zealand. Ministry of Social Development
Wellington N.Z. : Ministry of Social Development, 2019.
This report explores the association between adverse experiences in early childhood and later school readiness, using data from the 'Growing Up in New Zealand' longitudinal study. Adverse experiences include exposure to maltreatment and experiencing parental divorce, family abuse, mental illness, substance abuse, or incarceration, while school readiness was measured with a range of cognitive development tests. The study found that adverse childhood experiences were common in this group: by 54 months old, nearly 53% had experienced at least one adverse experience and 2.6% had experienced 4 or more. These adverse experiences were consistently associated with family income, deprivation, mother's education and age, and partner's age. The study also found a clear dose-response association between adverse experiences and school readiness.

Breaking down the barriers: findings of the National Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence and Multiple Disadvantage.

National Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence and Multiple Disadvantage (London, England), Agenda (Charity), Against Violence & Abuse (Organization)
London : Agenda and AVA, 2019.
The National Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence and Multiple Disadvantage was established by British charities AVA and Agenda to investigate the situation of women who have experienced violence and go on to face a range of other issues including addiction and poor mental health. This report presents the Commission's findings and recommendations. The report provides insights into the challenges facing these women in England and Wales, and looks at: the links between domestic and sexual abuse and multiple disadvantage - particularly mental health, substance use issues, homelessness, and poverty - across women of different identities, in particular race, ethnicity and disability; the experiences of women facing these issues, including their views on what services would best meet their needs and support them to rebuild their lives; current provision to support these women, including gaps and current shortcomings in the system; and evidence, ideas and good practice around how best to support these women. The Commission drew together a panel of leading experts, a Community of Practice of professionals, public submissions, and volunteer peer researchers. Eleven main themes emerged from the data collected; poverty, accessibility, homelessness, the criminal justice system, multiple disadvantage and trauma, trauma-informed response, partnership, parenting, gender-sensitive service provision, funding and commissioning, and early intervention. This final report includes a copy of the report by the peer researchers 'Hand in hand: survivors of multiple disadvantage discuss service & support'.

Estimating the prevalence of the 'toxic trio': evidence from the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey

Chowdry H
London : Children's Commissioner for England, 2018.
This report attempts to estimate the number of children in England growing up under the 'toxic trio' of parental mental health issues, parental substance misuse, and domestic abuse. It summarises the approach and results of new analysis using the 2014 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, a sample of around 7,500 adults in in England. Though there are limitations with this dataset and the estimates must be taken as a lower figure, it aims to counter-balance the issue of double-counting in other datasets that arises when individual prevalence for each of the issues are added together.

'Are they shouting because of me?': voices of children living in households with domestic abuse, parental substance misuse and mental health issues

Great Britain. Office of the Children's Commissioner
London : Children's Commissioner for England, 2018.
This report looks at life growing up under the 'toxic trio' of mental health, parental substance misuse, and domestic abuse. It presents findings from interviews with 15 children and young people in England about their experiences of living in households with these three issues, including how it affected their emotional wellbeing, school life and relationships with friends, and the ways in which they attempted to cope. Though the participants revealed the problems of living with high levels of tension and unpredictability at home, and about an evolving sense of shame and growing up quickly, they were also very clear about how much they loved and trusted their parents and the great lengths they went not to tell others for fear of being separated.

Hand in hand: survivors of multiple disadvantage discuss service & support

Hailes A
London : Agenda and AVA, 2018.
A National Commission on Domestic and Sexual Violence and Multiple Disadvantage has been established by British charities AVA and Agenda to investigate the situation of women who have experienced violence and go on to face a range of other issues including addiction and poor mental health. As part of this work, volunteer peer researchers were recruited and trained to conduct interviews with other women in their communities to ensure that the voices of those with lived experience were included. This report presents the findings and analysis of these interviews with 29 women from England and Wales, highlighting the far-reaching impacts of abuse and trauma. Topics discussed include types and experiences of abuse, 'honour' based violence and abuse, impacts of abuse, identifying abuse, help-seeking, police, health services, mental health services, substance use services, specialist domestic abuse services, housing and homelessness, and issues relating to children.

Impact of FIFO work arrangements on the mental health and wellbeing of FIFO workers

Parker S and Fruhen L
Perth, W.A. : WA Mental Health Commission, 2018.
The mental health and wellbeing of the sizeable 'fly in fly out' workforce in Western Australia is of great concern. This study was instigated by a 2015 Parliamentary Inquiry which called for further independent research into this issue. In particular, the study investigates the mental health impacts and benefits of FIFO work arrangements on workers and their families, harmful drinking and drug use by workers and its impact on mental health, and the positive and negative coping strategies employed by workers and their families. For this study, mental health includes issues of psychological distress, 'thwarted belonging', 'perceived burdensomeness', suicidality, burnout and mental exhaustion, and emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. Bullying, sleep, and physical pain were also considered. The study involves a review of the literature, a comparison of general population studies against a survey of 3,108 FIFO workers, surveys of 373 partners and 487 former FIFO workers, a longitudinal study of 205 FIFO workers, and qualitative interviews with 24 FIFO workers and 16 family members and friends. This report presents the findings and recommendations of the study. It concludes with actions for organisations and individual FIFO workers and their families to improve mental health.

Sleeping rough: a profile of Specialist Homelessness Services clients.

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Canberra : Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018.
Rough sleepers are the most visible population experiencing homelessness. This report explores the circumstances, experiences, service needs, and housing outcomes of rough sleepers who sought assistance from specialist homelessness services between over the 4-year period from 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2015. The findings reveal three patterns in service use - persistent service users, service cyclers, and transitory service users - as well as differences between rough sleepers compared to other clients of specialist homelessness services. Compared with other clients, rough sleepers were more likely to be male, unemployed, presenting alone, and have drug, alcohol or mental health issues. The key distinguishing feature of male and female rough sleepers is that females consistently reported domestic and family violence as a reason for seeking assistance - at a level 5 times higher than males.

Factors associated with child protection recurrence in Australia.

Jenkins B, Tilbury C, Hayes H and Mazerolle P
Child Abuse and Neglect v. 81 Jul 2018: 181-191
There is much research into what factors are associated with repeated child protection involvement, but most of these studies have been conducted in the United States. This article investigates whether the same identified child, family, and case factors are also associated with repeated child protection involvement in the Australian context. It analyses administrative child protection data from Queensland, for a sample of 9,608 children first reported to authorities in 2010/2011. The analysis finds that the factors associated with recurrence in Australia were broadly similar to those identified in overseas studies, including child protection intervention, younger age, prior child protection involvement in the household, Indigenous background, and parental characteristics including drug use, mental health problems, and history of maltreatment as a child.

The mental health of sons and daughters of Australian Vietnam veterans.

O'Toole B, Dadds M, Outram S and Catts S
International Journal of Epidemiology v. 47 no. 4 Aug 2018: 1051-1059
Research has found that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in combat veterans increases the risk of PTSD in their children, but are these children at significantly higher risk than the general population, and are they at risk of having other mental health problems? This article investigates the mental health of adult children of Australian Vietnam veterans, drawing on a survey of 133 sons and 182 daughters from a cohort of 179 veteran families. It examines exposure to different types of trauma, prevalence of mental illness, and suicidality, as compared with the 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. The study finds that the children of veterans were more likely than the general population to report exposure to traumas such as natural disasters, fire, explosions, or transport accidents, with veteran's sons more likely to report exposure to toxic chemicals and veteran's daughters more likely to report sexual assault. Higher prevalences of alcohol and drug dependence, depression and anxiety, and PTSD were also reported.

Improving service responses to vulnerable families during pregnancy and infancy: final report

Parkinson S, Gunawan A, Lewig K, Flaherty R and Arney F
Canberra, A.C.T. : Dept. of Social Services, 2017.
This study summarises what is known about strategies for working with expectant, new and vulnerable parents where alcohol and other drug, mental health and domestic and family violence issues occur. It reviews the evidence from Australia and overseas and consults experts on how strategies may be utilised in the Australian context. The elements that may contribute to successful outcomes and successful targeted outcome areas are also highlighted. Strategies reviewed include home visitation programs, behavioural and psychosocial programs, collaborative approaches, workforce development and screening and assessment processes.

Risks for mental illness in Indigenous Australian children : a descriptive study demonstrating high levels of vulnerability.

Twizeyemariya A, Guy S, Furber G and Segal L
Milbank Quarterly v. 95 no. 2 Jun 2017: 319-357
Adverse childhood experiences can often lead to poor mental health in adulthood. This article investigates the prevalence of such risk factors among Indigenous children in Australia. Drawing on data from the Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children (LSIC), it presents estimates on the prevalence of risks for later mental illness, as well identifying current levels of psychological distress in children from infancy to 10 years of age. Childhood risk factors for later mental illness in adulthood include family adversity and disruption, child maltreatment, parenting problems, and alcohol use or smoking during pregnancy. The findings indicate that Indigenous children face high levels of multiple disadvantage, placing them at significant risk of developing mental illness. High numbers of Indigenous children - 22.5% - are also experiencing psychological distress currently - as compared with just over 8% of children from the general population.

Consequences of bullying victimization in childhood and adolescence : a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Moore S, Norman R, Suetani S, Thomas H, Sly P and Scott J
World Journal of Psychiatry v. 7 no. 1 2017: 60-76
This article reviews the literature on the association between being bullied in childhood or adolescence and a range of adverse health and psychosocial problems at any age, including depression, anxiety, poor mental health, poor general health, self-injury, suicide, smoking, and illicit drug use. In particular, it assesses the strength of evidence for a causal relationship in this association. The findings show there is strong evidence that bullying victimisation causes mental health problems.

A heavy burden on young minds : the global burden of mental and substance use disorders in children and youth.

Erskine H, Moffitt T, Copeland  , Costello E, Ferrari A, Patton G, Degenhardt L, Vos T, Whiteford H and Scott J
Psychological Medicine v. 45 no. 7 May 2017: 1551-1563
This article aims to determine the burden of mental and substance disorders in children and youth aged 0?24 years old around the world. It investigates what is known about both the scale and patterns of this burden, drawing on data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 to assess Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), Years lived with disability (YLDs), and Years of life lost due to premature mortality (YLLs). Though the data is limited, it identified that mental and substance use disorders are the leading cause of disability in children and youth globally, and the sixth leading contributor to disease burden in this age group.

The prevalence of allegations of family violence on proceedings before the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.

Harman J
Family Law Review v. 7 no. 1 2017: 3-19
This article examines the prevalence of allegations of family violence from the perspective of their impact on the workload of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. Based on a sample of 201 parenting cases from a 14 week period in 2015/16, it looks at the prevalence of family violence or child abuse allegations, past involvement with police or child welfare agencies, the prevalence of mental illness or substance abuse allegations, concurrence of allegations, legal representation, appointment of children's lawyers, delay to court, and comparison with allegations of family violence in the general community. The findings highlight the complexity of cases before the Federal Circuit Court and the demands they make on court resources.

Strengthening prevention and early intervention services for families into the future

Toumbourou J, Hartman D, Field K, Jeffery R, Brady J, Heaton A, Ghayour Minaie M and Heerde J
Australia : FRSA and Deakin University, 2017.
Many of Australia's health and social problems are preventable, and many arise from modifiable risk factors in families and child development. This paper aims to initiate discussion as to how a coordinated strategy to increase family-based prevention and early intervention services could be utilised to prevent eight priority problems: substance abuse, antisocial behaviour and crime, obesity, mental illness, developmental injury such as from foetal alcohol problems or child maltreatment, chronic illness, school failure, and social exclusion. The paper analyses the potential for family and relationship services to contribute to solutions for these key problems and presents recommendations for coordinating strategies to increase family and relationship-based prevention and early intervention services in Australia. It also discusses prevention and early intervention frameworks, how family and relationship services may increase protective factors, the need for advances in intake screening and assessment, the strengths within these services that support this approach, challenges for services taking on a prevention role, and the economic benefits of this approach.

An evaluation of a service to keep children safe in families with mental health and/or substance abuse issues.

Coates D and Howe D
Australasian Psychiatry v. 24 no. 5 2016: 483-488
This article evaluates a specialised program to assist families with child safety concerns and parental mental health or drug and alcohol problems. The program, in New South Wales, aimed to improve parenting capacity, child safety, and family functioning. The study evaluates client data over 3 years, investigating improvement between intake and discharge.

'Everyone knew everyone's business' : being a parent with housing issues in rural areas.

Reupert A, Jones R, Sutton K and Maybery D
Journal of Sociology v. 52 no. 4 Dec 2016: 677-692
This article provides insights into the relationships between parenting, housing, and mental illness and substance abuse issues in rural communities. It explores the experiences of 13 parents facing both housing and mental health or drug and alcohol issues, raising themes of the intersection between the parenting role and housing difficulties, child contact while living in inadequate housing, privacy and service utilisation in a small town, and the interrelationship of mental illness, substance use, housing difficulties, and child custody.

Engaging young people: using the pathways young people take in and out of homelessness as the foundation for a person centred service culture

Johnson G, Cook K and Sesa S
Melbourne : Melbourne City Mission, 2016.
This report was commissioned to examine young people's access to and use of homelessness services, to help inform the work Melbourne City Mission. It investigates young people's pathways into the homelessness service system, their service histories and experiences, which services and programs most effectively facilitated positive outcomes, and the capacity of services to take family context and connections into account when addressing homelessness. The reports draws on 45 in-depth interviews with people aged 16-24 years old, with follow-up interviews with 26 of the original participants six months later. Of the 45 initial participants, most were single, one quarter had been in out-of-home care, nearly two thirds had received treatment for mental health issues, and over a third reported problematic substance use. The report identifies patterns of service use, patterns of outcomes, and the implications for policy and practice.

Domestic and family violence and co-occurring mental health issues and addictions : common stories in a reinforcing social system.

Morris B
The Australian 2015 STOP Domestic Violence Conference : connecting the dots conference : conference proceedings - peer reviewed. Nerang, Qld. : Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association, 2016: 28-65
Mothers with co-occurring trauma-based mental health and substance use issues resulting from domestic violence face significant barriers in trying to remain as caregivers to their children while they strive to recover. This paper presents qualitative data collected over 18 years in a dual-diagnosis 24/7 recovery centre, illustrated in a case study that highlights the shared key experiences of these mothers. Sections include: Powerlessness within institutional frameworks; Powerlessness within intimate family systems; Recovery needs of mothers who have experienced generational violence with co-occurring mental ill health and substance use challenges; Toxic family modelling cycles; Common requests from mothers in the residential recovery centre; Coping cycles; Trauma cycles and transitional concerns; Issues that were commonly reported by mothers in the residential centre regarding their future capacity to care for children in stable environments after their recovery; and Socio-political barriers to mothers accessing recovery with their children in dual-diagnosis residential treatment centres.

Child aware practice in adult social services : a scoping review.

Tilbury C, Walsh P and Osmond J
Australian Social Work v. 69 no. 3 2016: 260-272
The development of 'child aware' practice is about the capacity and capability of adult health and social service providers to identify and respond to the needs of children. A scoping review of the literature considered five adult adversities associated with family stress and reduced parenting capacity: mental illness, alcohol and substance abuse, homelessness, intellectual disability, and domestic violence. Although there are specific needs for children pertaining to particular adversities, there was substantial commonality of potential effects. These included emotional and psychological difficulties, physical and mental health problems, academic difficulties, language delays, peer difficulties, stigma, trauma reactions, loss and grief, instability, and social exclusion. How children react to difficulties in their family depends upon various protective factors, a child's frame of reference, and other dynamics within the family that can offset risks. The findings aim to inform policy, program development, and practice in adult social services, enhancing their responsiveness to children. (Journal article)

Goal setting in recovery : families where a parent has a mental illness or a dual diagnosis.

Maybery D, Reupert A and Goodyear M
Child and Family Social Work v. 20 no. 3 Aug 2015: 354-363
This article describes a family recovery planning model that incorporates goal setting, for families where a parent has a mental health or dual substance and mental health problem. Work with 33 parents and 50 children using the model reveals that education and mental health knowledge are important goals for both parent groups - especially for children whose parent has a dual diagnosis.

Children and relationship factors.

Alexander R
Australian master family law guide. 7th ed. Sydney : CCH Australia, 2015. 9781925091281: 279-316
Written for lawyers, counsellors, finance industry professionals, and students, this reference guide explains legislation, relevant case law, and legal procedures in Australian family law. This chapter reviews common issues that may rise in children's matters before the family court and in dispute resolution. It provides advice on taking instructions and questioning clients, and reviews the legal implications of gambling, parental drug use, mental health issues, family violence, child abuse, and parental alienation syndrome.

Aetiology of coexisting mental health and alcohol and other drug disorders : perspectives of refugee youth and service providers.

Posselt M, Procter N, Galletly C and De Crespigny C
Australian Psychologist v. 50 no. 2 Apr 2015: 130-140
Though the research is limited, young refugees are considered to be a particularly vulnerable group for mental health and substance abuse comorbidity. This article investigates the social and psychosocial factors related to being a young person from a refugee background that lead to the development of such comorbidity. Interviews were conducted with 15 refugee youth - aged 12 to 25 years old - and 15 service providers in a disadvantaged region of Adelaide, South Australia, regarding pre-migration experiences of torture and trauma; familial factors of intergenerational conflict; post-migration adjustment difficulties in terms of language, culture, education, and employment; exposure to and availability of substances; maladaptive coping strategies and self-medication; and access to information and services. The findings highlight the interrelated nature of risk factors.

Review of key risk and protective factors for child development and wellbeing (antenatal to age 25)

Toumbourou J, Hall J, Varco J and Leung R
Canberra, A.C.T. : Australian Research Alliance for Children and Young People, 2014.
This report summarises the key risk and protective factors for child and youth development and wellbeing, to help identify the optimal intervention points across the life course from conception to 25 years old. It outlines risk and protective factors that influence child development across areas relevant to both wellbeing and positive adjustment and also the prevention of health and social problems across a wide range of areas, as well as the factors associated with the escalation of risk. Seven major preventable outcomes are focused on: substance abuse, obesity, preventable disability, mental illness, chronic illness, school failure, antisocial behaviour, and social exclusion.

Growing up in New Zealand - a longitudinal study of New Zealand children and their parents: exploring the definition of vulnerability for children in their first 1000 days

Morton S, Atatoa Carr P, Grant C, Berry S, Marks E, Chen X and Lee A
Auckland : Growing up in New Zealand, 2014.
This report explores vulnerability in young children in New Zealand, and how vulnerability can be usefully defined in the context of the diverse families and environments that comprise contemporary society. It draws on findings from Growing Up in New Zealand, a longitudinal study following the growth and development of 7000 children in New Zealand, from conception onwards. The report provides information on: the study methodology and sample, defining vulnerability in a contemporary New Zealand context, a life-course approach to defining vulnerability, family and environmental risk factors for vulnerability, vulnerability during the antenatal period, association between cumulative exposure to antenatal vulnerability and early postnatal outcomes and outcomes at nine months of age, accumulation of exposure to vulnerability from before birth throughout infancy and to two years of age, transitions in vulnerability risk exposure, and implications of the clustering of risk factors for vulnerability.

Thriving in adversity: a positive deviance study of safe communities for children : National Research Agenda for Protecting Children - final report

Eastman C, Hill T, Newland J, Smyth C and Valentine K
Sydney : Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW, 2014.
In every disadvantaged community there are individuals and families who are doing unexpectedly well. These individuals and families have practices and strategies that are both positive and deviant in that they differ from those of most of their peers. This report explores how these families manage to 'thrive in adversity', in particular the protective factors for families with significant risk factors for child maltreatment, especially drug use and mental health problems. The study featured a national survey to investigate which social practices and norms help to produce positive outcomes for children in disadvantaged communities, and data analysis to identify communities in which outcomes are unexpectedly positive and 'communities of affinity' in which a significant risk factor for child maltreatment is present. This study fits under one of the research priorities of the National Research Agenda for Protecting Children 2011-2014, which is to learn more about the conditions necessary to create a child-safe and child-friendly community.

Longitudinal trends in the dispensing of psychotropic medications in Australia from 2009-2012 : focus on children, adolescents and prescriber specialty.

Karanges E, Stephenson C and McGregor I
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry v. 48 no. 10 Oct 2014: 917-931
This article reviews recent trends in the dispensing of antidepressant, antipsychotic and ADHD medications to children, adolescents and young adults in Australia. The results show a worrying increase in prescribing, despite uncertain risk-benefit profiles.

Child protection and cross-sector practice : an analysis of child death reviews to inform practice when multiple parental risk factors are present.

Frederico M, Jackson A and Dwyer J
Child Abuse Review v. 23 no. 2 Mar/Apr 2014: 104-115
Parental mental health problems, family violence, and substance abuse constitute a 'toxic trio' of risk factors in the child protection sector. However, there has been little research on the combined impact of these three risk factors. This article analyses 16 cases of child death review from Victoria to investigate the impact of these parental risk factors on child abuse and filicide, and how child protection services responded to the existence of these risks.
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