Rest assured – there is help out there for children of parents experiencing mental illness and their family members! However, the kind of help you need will depend on your individual circumstances. Often the best place to start is with your local doctor or support worker. You may not necessarily need a specialist COPMI program – families are everyone’s business!
Talking to a doctor or support professional
If you’re not sure how to ask for help from your doctor or another professional, start by explaining how mental illness is affecting your family and that you’d like to find help for individual family members as well as the family as a whole. If you are feeling unsure about what to say, you could print this page and take it with you to show them. There are a range of government and non-government services available that may be able to provide the help you need.
Be patient - good help can take time to find
Be aware that your doctor or support worker may not have all the answers straight away and finding the right support services can be tricky. You may need to be persistent and try a few different options until you find what is right for your family. By working together with a good doctor or other professional you will be able to identify your family’s strengths, areas of need and the help that may be right for you.
The COPMI tool will provide with you with a list of opportunities that are specifically related to children of parents with a mental illness and their families. We recommend you talk to your doctor or support worker regarding how appropriate they might be for you and your family and about others that are available.
The services range from camps for kids and support programs for carers to supported playgroups and assistance for parents. Services will vary depending on the area you live. A knowledgeable doctor or support worker can help you to learn about what else is available in your local area.
Listed below are some other services that are not specific to children of parents with a mental illness, but are available in most areas of Australia and may be able to help.