Parents with a mental illness

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 Parents with a mental illness in the AIFS library catalogue

The long-term effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and what they mean for practitioners

Moss D
Hilton, S. Aust. : Emerging Minds, 2020.
This paper briefly considers some of the changes that both adult and child-focused services are likely to encounter in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, from the point of view of impacts of children and parenting. For some children, the reality of an inconsistent or unsafe home life has only intensified, as social isolation has denied them the sanctuary of friends, a supportive grandparent, or school and instead has had them spending much more time with a parent who is perpetrating violence, whose mental health is being adversely affected by isolation, or who is drinking at unsafe levels. Non-judgmental or stigmatising practice with parents will be important if practitioners are to engage them about the possible effects of social isolation on their children's mental health.

Improving early child development: WHO guideline

World Health Organization
Geneva : World Health Organization, 2020.
This document presents guidelines by the World Health Organization on improving early childhood development provides. It provides global, evidence-informed recommendations on interventions and feasible approaches that are effective in improving developmental outcomes in children, and has been written for a wide audience, including policy-makers, agencies, health managers, and health workers. In order to improve early childhood development, WHO recommends: responsive caregiving, promoting early learning, integrating caregiving and nutrition interventions, and supporting maternal mental health. These guidelines will be updated when more evidence becomes available.

Adverse childhood experiences: what we know, what we don't know, and what should happen next

Asmussen K, Fischer F, Drayton E and McBride T
London : Early Intervention Foundation, 2020.
Research into adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) consistently shows that a set of 10 adverse experiences in childhood are associated with an increased risk of poor health and other problems in later life. This report examines the ACEs evidence base - in terms of its quality and the conclusions which have followed - and considers the strength of evidence underpinning common responses to ACEs, such as routine ACE screening and trauma-informed care. It identifies what is known about adverse childhood experiences, their relationship with negative outcomes in adulthood, and the effectiveness of current interventions. Based on these findings, the report calls for increasing access to interventions with proven evidence of preventing and reducing ACEs. This report serves as a response to the 2018 House of Commons inquiry on evidence-based early intervention, which held that though there was a strong consensus that ACEs are harmful and associated with a range of negative adult outcomes, there was doubt about the strength of this relationship and the extent to which current practice responses are effective or appropriate.

Connecting up the care: supporting London's children exposed to domestic abuse, parental mental ill-health and parental substance abuse

London Assembly. Health Committee
London : London Assembly Health Committee, 2020.
This paper highlights findings and recommendations from a study into children exposed to three adverse childhood experiences - domestic abuse, parental mental ill-health and parental substance abuse - in combination in London in England. Children's risk of poor outcomes increases as the number of ACEs they experience increases, and these three adversities were chosen as they often occur together. The study aimed to learn more about how services are working for people who experience multiple vulnerabilities, as well as the prevalence of these three adversities in London and what preventative and supportive actions could be taken. Key findings include the importance of information sharing and data collection, multiagency approaches, and trauma-informed approaches to improve service effectiveness and outcomes.

An audit of intake screening and assessment tools used in the family and relationship services sector: summary report

Family & Relationship Services Australia
Fyshwick, ACT : FRSA, 2019.
This report presents findings and case studies from a recent survey of intake screening and assessment tools used in the family and relationship services sector. The survey was completed in 2018 by 49 member organisations of Family & Relationship Services Australia, which included small specialist and larger multi-service organisations delivering a range of federally funded services such as parenting support, intensive family support, family violence, adoption support, family dispute resolution, children's contact services, and financial counselling. All respondents indicated they use some form of screening tool on initial contact with service users, to identify client risk and protective factors. Participants were asked about the types of tools used, how the information is used and reported, who screening is conducted by and their training, and perceived effectiveness of tools. The main social and health problems identified through intake and assessment tools are domestic and family violence, mental illness, substance abuse, and child neglect/abuse, highlighting how family and relationship services have a key role to play in early identification and response. Case studies are included for: Centacare New England North West, Anglicare Sydney, Relationships Australia South Australia (RASA), Ishar Multicultural Women's Health Centre, drummond street services, and Logan Family Relationship Centre.

Trends in mental health related contacts among mothers of Aboriginal children in Western Australia (1990-2013) : a linked data population-based cohort study of over 40,000 children.

Lima F, Shepherd C, Wong J, O'Donnell M and Marriott R
BMJ Open v. 9 no. 7 2019: Article e027733
This article investigates the maternal mental health burden faced by young Aboriginal children in Western Australia. It examines the prevalence of mental health issues among Aboriginal mothers, including trends over the last twenty years, timing in regards to pregnancy or childbirth, and association with socio-demographic factors. The article analysed linked administrative data for Aboriginal children born from 1990-2013 in Western Australia, for their mothers' contacts with health services about mental health concerns, including with hospitals, community mental health centres, specialists, and private practitioners. The study found that 34% of these children were born to a mother who had at least one mental health related contact within the 5-years prior to birth or 1-year post birth.

The cost of perinatal depression and anxiety in Australia

PricewaterhouseCoopers (Australia), Gidget Foundation, Perinatal Wellbeing Centre, Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia Inc., Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness Inc.
Australia : Gidget Foundation Australia, 2019.
Perinatal depression and anxiety (PNDA) during pregnancy and the first year after birth is a common condition and affects 1 in 5 mothers and 1 in 10 fathers in Australia. This report presents estimates on the cost of PNDA to the health system, economy and wellbeing of those impacted. In 2019, PNDA is estimated to cost $877m, such as increased use of health and social services, increased risk of chronic illness and substance abuse, increased risk of child health and developmental risks, and productivity losses from increased workforce exit, absenteeism, and carer role. These costs are substantial for both parent and child in the short to medium term and also lifetime.

Mental health: draft report

Australia. Productivity Commission.
Canberra : Productivity Commission, 2019.
The Productivity Commission is now undertaking an inquiry into the role of improving mental health to support economic participation and enhancing productivity and economic growth. This draft report has been prepared for further public consultation and input. It presents the draft findings and recommendations of the inquiry to date, drawing upon the many submissions received so far. It finds that mental ill-health is widespread, with costs to the Australian economy of at least $43 to $51 billion per year, plus another $130 billion associated with diminished health and reduced life expectancy. The treatment of mental illness has been tacked on to a health system that has been largely designed around the characteristics of physical illness, but also many people who do seek treatment are not receiving the level of care they need. The report presents draft recommendations for reforming prevention and early intervention, addressing critical gaps in healthcare service availability and delivery, and assisting people with mental illness to get into work and enable early treatment of work-related mental illness. Chapters include: Draft recommendations and findings; The case for major reform; What mental ill-health and suicide are costing Australia; Re-orienting health services to consumers; Primary mental healthcare; Supported online treatment; Specialist community mental health services; Emergency and acute inpatient services; Physical and substance use comorbidities; Towards integrated care: linking consumers and services; Mental health workforce; Psychosocial support; Carers and families; Income and employment support; Housing and homelessness; Justice; Interventions in early childhood and school education; Youth economic participation; Mentally healthy workplaces; Social participation and inclusion; Suicide prevention; Federal roles and responsibilities; and Funding arrangements.

Three variations on the Australian supported playgroup model.

Wright A, Warren J, Burriel K and Sinnott L
International Journal of Social Welfare v. 28 no. 3 Jul 2019: 333-344
This article describes the underlying framework of the Families New South Wales supported playgroup model and explains how it has been successfully adapted for use with three different populations: mothers living with mental illness, children with disabilities, and families in economically disadvantaged areas. The supported playgroup model provides both prevention work and a 'soft' entry point for community services, while also offering parent peer support and opportunities for children to play.

Forecasting Future Outcomes: Stronger Communities Investment Unit - 2018 insights report

Taylor Fry Consulting Actuaries, New South Wales
Sydney, N.S.W. : NSW Government, 2019
This paper presents a new actuarial model to guide investment to vulnerable families and presents estimates on future service use and costs for selected at risk groups in New South Wales. This model was developed by the Taylor Fry consulting firm to guide funding under the NSW Government's 'Their Futures Matter' reforms, which aim to deliver improved outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and their families through a coordinated, wrap-around, and evidence-based service system. The paper explains the approach of the model and sets out data for several key vulnerable groups: young children aged 0-5, young adolescents, young people transitioning to adulthood, young mothers, children of young mothers, young adolescents with parental mental health risk factors, young people using mental health services, and the 1,000 individuals with highest service costs. Under each group it looks at characteristics, estimated future cost of government services, projected future social outcomes, and within group variations. It models data from linked state and commonwealth data concerning child protection, housing and homelessness services, justice, health, education, mental health, alcohol and drugs, parental risk factors, and welfare. This paper is intended to support business cases for new policies and interventions aimed at improving outcomes for vulnerable children and families.

The acceptability of a single session family focused approach for children/young people and their parents attending a child and youth mental health service.

Hoadley B, Falkov A and Agalawatta N
Advances in Mental Health v. 17 no. 1 Special issue on parenting interventions and the mental health of children and parents 2019: 44-54
This article evaluates the acceptability of a single session intervention for families where both a parent and their child has a mental illness. The intervention is aimed at families attending a child mental health service and uses The Family Model to support a semi-structured conversation among the family and clinicians for developing a shared care plan. 32 family members and 6 clinicians provided feedback on their experience working with this approach and whether it led to improved understandings and communication. These initial findings are positive and support the trial of this approach with larger samples and in different settings.

Unfogging the future : investigating a strengths-based program to build capacity and resilience in parents with mental illness.

McFarland L and Fenton A
Advances in Mental Health v. 17 no. 1 Special issue on parenting interventions and the mental health of children and parents 2019: 21-32
This article describes a parenting program for parents with a mental illness in regional Victoria. The program is a strength-based and recovery-focused intervention involving face-to-face group sessions and reflective activities, with the aim of building capacity and resilience. Some feedback from a sample of 4 parents and 2 program facilitators are included, about the strengths and benefits of the program.

SMS4 perinatal parents : designing parenting support via text messages for mothers with severe mental illness (SMI) and their partners.

Fletcher R, Campbell L, Williams A, Rawlinson C, Dye J, Baldwin A, May C and StGeorge J
Advances in Mental Health v. 17 no. 1 Special issue on parenting interventions and the mental health of children and parents 2019: 85-95
This article describes an intervention that uses SMS text messages to help support mothers with severe mental illness and their partners through pregnancy and early infancy. A suite of brief messages were developed for mothers and fathers separately, with topics looking at mood, attachment, co-parenting, self-care, and common stress-inducing parenting issues. The intervention is adapted from the SMS4Dads intervention for new fathers by an expert advisory group.

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'.

Online peer support programs for young people with a parent who has a mental illness : service providers' perspectives.

Price-Robertson R, Reupert A and Maybery D
Australian Social Work v. 72 no. 3 2019: 274-286
This article looks at the potential benefits and challenges of online peer support programs for young people with a parent who has a mental illness. Peer support programs have shown promise for supporting these young people and online delivery mechanisms could help address access issues. Interviews were held with 17 mental health professionals in Victoria regarding the types and number of peer support programs on offer locally, the strengths and weaknesses of current programs, barriers to access, and the potential opportunities and challenges of online approaches to peer support. The participants noted that there were many eligible young people missing out even in well-serviced regions, and held broad support for the idea of online programs.

Adverse childhood experiences and healthcare costs in adult life.

Loxton D, Townsend N, Dolja-Gore X, Forder P and Coles J
Journal of Child Sexual Abuse v. 28 no. 5 2019: 511-525
This article looks at one long-term impact of adverse childhood experiences - their impact on increased health care expenditure in adulthood. It investigates the prevalence of childhood adversity - from having a household member with a mental illness to experiencing psychological abuse - and compares these women's spending on primary, allied, and specialist healthcare services over the 20 years from 1996-2015. Data is taken from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health, for the cohort born in 1973-1978, linked with government data on Medicare subsidies and rebates. 41% of the participants reported some form of adversity in childhood, including 8% reporting physical abuse, 17% reporting psychological abuse, and 9% witnessing intimate partner violence. Overall, women who had experienced adversity in childhood had higher healthcare costs than their peers, with these costs increasing over time.

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.

Profile of consumers and their partners of a perinatal and infant mental health (PIMH) service in Australia.

Coates D, Saleeba C and Howe D
Health and Social Care in the Community v. 26 no. 1 Jan 2018: e154-e163
This article provides information on the characteristics of clients and their partners attending a perinatal and infant mental health (PIMH) service in New South Wales, establishing a profile of typical consumers. Client data for 406 consumers over a 6-year period was analysed, including demographical characteristics, mental health problems, and psychosocial vulnerabilities. The findings show that clients presented with an average of nine different vulnerabilities, most commonly depression, anxiety, self-harm, a history of family mental health issues, childhood trauma, limited support, relationship conflict with partners, and financial stress, with the client's partners also experiencing a range of vulnerabilities.

How do Australian adult mental health clinicians manage the challenges of working with parental mental illness? A phenomenological study.

Tchernegovski P, Reupert A and Maybery D
Child and Family Social Work v. 23 no. 3 Aug 2018: 381-389
This article explores how clinicians in adult mental health services face engage with clients who are also parents. Interviews were held with 11 Australian clinicians regarding their experiences in working with parents, effective strategies, managing sensitive parenting conversations, making decisions about child safety, and working with child protection services.

Meeting the intergenerational needs of families where a parent has a mental illness.

Goodyear M, McDonald M, von Doussa H, Cuff R and Dunlop B
Journal of Parent and Family Mental Health v. 3 no. 2 2018: Article 1
This article discusses practice issues in helping families where a parent has a mental illness, and introduces the 'Families where a Parents has a Mental Illness' (FaPMI) Standards of Practice and Audit Tool. The FaPMI audit tool is used to monitor and report on adult mental health clinicians' practice in Victoria, while the standards of practice aim to improve the identification, assessment, support, and referral of families, and encourage family-focused practice. These resources were developed as part of a policy directive established by the Victorian State Government and are currently being trialled.

Time for a new zeitgeist in perinatal mental health.

Judd F, Newman L and Komiti A
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry v. 52 no. 2 Feb 2018: 112-116
This opinion piece argues that it is now time for perinatal psychiatrists to turn their attention to the design and delivery of services targeting high-risk women and their infants. Antenatal and postnatal depression have been the dominant focus for clinicians and researchers over the last three decades, and great advances have been made. However, there has been less work on developing evidence-based treatments and services for complex cases where there are many underlying risk factors not only for depression but also for parenting difficulties, such as through psychoses, mental illness, drug use, and histories of trauma. The authors highlights the impact of maternal risk factors on attachment, parenting, and foetal development and considers early identification and intervention approaches.

Severity of illness and adaptive functioning predict quality of care of children among parents with psychosis : a confirmatory factor analysis.

Campbell L, Hanlon M, Galletly C, Harvey C, Stain H, Cohen M, Van Ravenzwaaij D and Brown S
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry v. 52 no. 5 May 2018: 435-445
This article investigates levels of adequate parenting among parents with psychotic disorders, and the predictors of quality parenting. It analyses data from the second Australian National Survey of Psychosis in 2010, for the 234 people who were parents living with dependent children. The article considers levels of participation, interest and competence in childcare, and investigates the impact of psychosocial support, illness severity, substance abuse, adaptive functioning, and parenting role on parenting adequacy. The analysis finds that the majority of parents provided adequate parenting, though greater symptom severity and poorer adaptive functioning place parents at risk. The implications for targeted support are briefly discussed.

The Perinatal Mental Health and Wellness Project: developing a collaborative model for mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention in the perinatal period : final report to the Queensland Mental Health Commission

Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health, Children's Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service. Child and Youth Mental Health Service, Queensland Mental Health Commission
Brisbane, Qld. : Queensland Health, 2017.
This document reports on a trial of a new program in Queensland to promote the emotional health and wellbeing of families in the perinatal period, from about 12 weeks into pregnancy to 8 weeks after birth. The Perinatal Mental Health and Wellness Project developed and evaluated a collaborative model for mental health promotion, illness prevention, and early intervention, and was trialled at three sites in Queensland from 2015 to 2017. This report describes the development of the program from a local promising practice initiative, summarises program processes and outcomes, and presents recommendations for the implementation of similar initiatives in other sites. In particular, it discusses the collaborative cross-sector model, the challenges of raising emotional issues for participants and educators, and the importance of service readiness within the maternity service for deeper engagement with the emotional health and wellbeing. The report is one of two to the two funding bodies: this report also has an additional appendix of contracted deliverables that was prepared for this funder.

The Perinatal Mental Health and Wellness Project: developing a collaborative model for mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention in the perinatal period : final report to the Statewide Maternity and Neonatal Clinical Network

Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health, Children's Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service. Child and Youth Mental Health Service, Statewide Maternity and Neonatal Clinical Network (Queensland)
Brisbane, Qld. : Queensland Health, 2017.
This document reports on a trial of a new program in Queensland to promote the emotional health and wellbeing of families in the perinatal period, from about 12 weeks into pregnancy to 8 weeks after birth. The Perinatal Mental Health and Wellness Project developed and evaluated a collaborative model for mental health promotion, illness prevention, and early intervention, and was trialled at three sites in Queensland from 2015 to 2017. This report describes the development of the program from a local promising practice initiative, summarises program processes and outcomes, and presents recommendations for the implementation of similar initiatives in other sites. In particular, it discusses the collaborative cross-sector model, the challenges of raising emotional issues for participants and educators, and the importance of service readiness within the maternity service for deeper engagement with the emotional health and wellbeing. The report is one of two to the two funding bodies: this report lacks an additional appendix that was prepared for the other funder.

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.

Australian Perinatal Mental Health Guideline evidence review

Hereco (Firm), Centre of Perinatal Excellence
Flemington, Vic. : COPE, 2017.
The Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) has been commissioned by the Commonwealth Government of Australia to review and update the National Perinatal Mental Health Guideline, which was previously developed by beyondblue. The Guideline aims to guide health practitioners and policy makers in best practice in the identification, prevention, treatment, and management of mental health disorders in women that may occur during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a baby. To help inform this review, COPE commissioned Hereco Health Research Consulting to assess the evidence on the identification of mental health problems during the perinatal period, the effectiveness of different treatments or prevention approaches, and possible harms to the offspring or mother related to the use of various interventions. This report presents the findings of this review, presented as 4 separate technical reports within one volume.

The experiences of women who have accessed a perinatal and infant mental health service : a qualitative investigation.

Coates D, Campbell L and Davis E
Advances in Mental Health v. 15 no. 1 2017: 42-57
This article explores the experiences of clients from a perinatal infant mental health (PIMH) service, investigating whether the service met their needs and how it could be improved. The Gosford PIMH service in New South Wales provides a wide range of interventions for mothers for risk of developing mental health problems or poor mother-infant attachment. Forty discharged clients were interviewed, highlighting the positive impact of the service and key areas of good practice.

Legislative policy to support children of parents with a mental illness : revolution or evolution?

Tchernegovski P, Maybery D and Reupert A
International Journal of Mental Health Promotion v. 19 no. 1 2017: 1-13
The 2014 Victorian Mental Health Act mandates clinicians to support the children of mentally ill patients. This article explores whether this reform has had an impact on the views and practice of mental health professionals, drawing on interviews with 11 practitioners. The findings indicate that the reform has not promoted change within organisations and instead highlights the role of practice development staff as drivers of practice change.

SMS4dads : providing information and support to new fathers through mobile phones - a pilot study.

Fletcher R, May C, Lambkin F, Gemmill A, Cann W, Nicholson J, Rawlinson C, Milgrom J, Highet N, Foureur M, Bennett E and Skinner G
Advances in Mental Health v. 15 no. 2 2017: 121-131
This article tests a pilot mobile phone intervention for new fathers, to help inform its development. 'SMS4dads' is an SMS-based interactive telephone-linked support system designed to support fathers with helpful and encouraging text messages, links to relevant web resources, mood monitoring, and connection to a crisis telephone support. Forty-six participants were recruited to test its uptake, user engagement, and acceptability. Participant feedback indicated that SMS4dads had good acceptability and that the content was helpful, though less than half of the participants used the mood tracking feature. The implications for development are discussed.

'They are the children of our clients, they are our responsibility' : a phenomenological evaluation of a school holiday program for children of adult clients of a mental health service.

Isobel S, Pretty D and Meehan F
Advances in Mental Health v. 15 no. 2 2017: 132-146
This article explores client and professional views on a school holiday program for children of adult clients of a mental health service. Interviews and focus groups were held with children, young people, parents, and staff on the meaning and experience of participation in the program, and its perceived benefits. The findings have implications for adult mental health services with limited resources wanting to explore family-focused early intervention opportunities.
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