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

Developing a child or family care plan

Should a mental health crisis occur and you’re unable to cope, having a care plan helps everyone – particularly children.

Writing a care plan

Best written when you're well

If you aren’t feeling well, it’s okay to ask someone your child knows and trusts, to give them the extra time and the attention they need and maintain their routines.

Support could come from your friends or partner, a grandparent or foster parent. It could also be a child care worker, family day care-giver or teacher.

This kind of support is best considered when you are feeling well – the ideal time to talk about and write a care plan.

It’s about knowing what to do

Your whole family will feel better if they know what to do should a crisis occur – and putting it in writing as a care plan and sharing it with everyone involved means they all know who is responsible for what and when.

This is also reassuring for children who are old enough to understand the plan being put in place for them. Ultimately, planning ahead in this way reduces undue stress on both you and your child which means better outcomes for both of you.

Remember, it's not forever! A care plan is only for times when you are unwell and need extra support.

How does it work?

Every family is different, so you need to develop your own plan that works for you and your children.

You can ask someone you trust to assist in developing your plan, or go through the process with a health professional. You can also do it with your child and/or family, so that they feel reassured and aware of the process if you become unwell.

When your children know who to contact, who will look after them should you become unwell, how they will get to school (and so forth) they are generally more reassured and confident about the future if you do require help or need to go to hospital. It also means you get a say in what happens to them.

Make sure family members or a trusted friend knows where it the plan is so they can put it into action.

Example care plans

Use the templates we've created below to help you develop your own plans. You may want to fill these in, or just use them as a guide.



Need to talk to someone?

Are you a parent with depression or anxiety?

Help your family understand. Find out how to discuss mental illness with them.