'Family Focus' videos - for parents and young people
Many parents who experience depression or anxiety worry about whether they should talk with their children about their illness and how much they should say.
The fact is that symptoms of depression or anxiety can influence how you think, feel, act and communicate. Other family members (particularly children) can be confused with what they see and hear. In the case of young people, they may not understand what’s happening, and may make up their own reasons for your behaviour.
Talking about mental illness as a family can help everyone make sense of what’s going on. In fact, research has proven that open family discussion bolsters family strength and also build a child's resilience to developing mental health problems of their own.
For this reason, the COPMI national initiative have developed these 'Family Focus' videos (which are also available on DVD) to help you start the conversation about depression and anxiety with your child and family.
Parents with a mental illness should follow three steps to viewing these videos:
1. Watch the 'parents' video alone first. (See footage below.) This will help you prepare for talking to your family about your illness. Discuss it with your partner.
2. Watch the children's video as a family. (See footage below.) This is an intuitive way to start the family discussion about your illness. Please note that the emotional footage is not intended for your children to view alone. It's important that you be there to supervise any reactions.
3. Talk about how it applies to your family. Start by asking your children a simple question to introduce discussion, like 'How did you feel watching the video?' or 'What did you learn by watching the video?'.