New trial to help children in school
Children with parents that have a mental illness will soon have greater access to targeted information to help them understand and work through ways to address the issue.
The resource materials being developed by Children Of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) will provide ideas for teachers on how to help children in need.
Using “Saving Francesca”, by Melina Marchetta (Penguin Books), a story that involves a young person dealing with her mother’s depression, the material aims to help teachers:
Pilot testing of the material will take place on Friday 18th March within a workshop at the MindMatters conference in Sydney.
Elizabeth Fudge, who has experience in education, community health and health promotion and is Project Manager for COPMI, is conducting the workshop. The resources, once fully developed, will provide advice in a step-by-step way to help teachers to help students. For example the resources will identify specific parts of the book and break it down like this:
|Once Francesca learns that her mother has depression (page 90) she can look it up on the internet. Divide the class into groups to find out about depression from 3 different sources; the fact sheet regarding depression on pages 33-35 of “Understanding Mental Illness”; the beyond blue website [http://www.beyondblue.org.au/], and the SANE Australia website [www.sane.org]. Groups then share their findings with the rest of the class.|
We want to be able to use an award winning modern Australian text to help students affected by a parent’s mental illness, and their peers, to discuss issues of relevance to them within the classroom, said Ms Fudge.
The information being piloted with teachers will provide suggestions, activities and techniques for discussing:
COPMI is the Children Of Parents with a Mental Illness initiative being undertaken by the Australian Infant Child Adolescent and Family Mental Health Association (AICAFMHA) for the Australian Government.