COPMI - Children of Parents with a Mental Illness - Keeping families in mind

About mental illness

Thinking kids


It might help to read this with an adult.


Lots of people have a mental illness!


What is mental illness? 

  • Mental illness is like a broken leg - you can't see it.
  • It is an illness that changes how someone acts, thinks and feels.
  • There are lots of different kinds of mental illness.

You can read more at the Teens Section.

Mental illness can make parents act differently

  • They might get angry more easily, or cry a lot.  Or shut themselves in their room.
  • Remember it is the illness that makes them act this way. It is not your fault.

Is it my fault? 

  • It is not your fault if your Mum or Dad has a mental illness.
  • It is not a parent’s fault if they have a mental illness.

Lots of things can help

  • Your Mum or Dad might see a special doctor for help.
  • There are some medicines that can help too.
  • There are things you can do to help too.

Will I get a mental illness?

  • Most people with a Mum or Dad with a mental illness don’t get one themselves!
  • There are some really good things you can do to stay strong and well.

Will they get better?

  • People do get better from mental illness.
  • Sometimes life can be different from what it was before - but your Mum or Dad can still feel better.

What if I am scared?

  • Sometimes your Mum or Dad might act in a scary way.
  • They might want to hurt themselves or another person.
  • If you are very worried call the emergency number: 000.

If you want to talk to someone - call Kids Helpline ANY TIME on 1800 55 1800.


Some extra information:

If you want more info go to the Teenagers/Young Adults section.

Need to talk to someone?

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