Guiding Australian organisations and individuals
A number of policies and pieces of legislation provide guidance to Australian organisations and individuals regarding the rights, needs and responsibilities of services to support:
- children of parents with a mental illness
- the parenting role of individuals experiencing mental illness
- carers and support people of parents with a mental illness.
The following are links to relevant policies and frameworks in Australia.
- A National framework for recovery-oriented mental health services: Guide for practitioners and providers (2013)
- The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020 (2009)
- Fourth national mental health plan: an agenda for collaborative government action in mental health (2009-2014)
- Priority Area 2, ‘Prevention and early intervention’ of the Plan includes the following action: “Expand the level and range of support for families and carers of people with mental illness and mental health problems including children of parents with a mental illness.” (pages 32 and 36)
- Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Position Statement 56: Children of parents with a mental illness (2009)
- Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Position Statement 76: Supporting carers in the mental health system (2012)
- Mental health statement of rights and responsibilities (2012)
- National practice standards for the mental health workforce (2013)
These standards outline the capabilities that all mental health professionals should achieve in their work. They are intended to complement discipline-specific practice standards or competencies of the professions of nursing, occupational therapy, psychiatry, psychology and social work. Each standard articulates the role of mental health professionals in supporting and engaging with individuals, family members and cares.
- Principles and Actions for Services and People Working with Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (2004)
- Queensland Health Working with parents with mental illness: guidelines for mental health clinicians
- NSW Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI): Framework for Mental Health Services (2010-2015)
- Victoria Families where a parent has a mental illness: A service development strategy
As stated in the document:
Every child has the right to:
- the protection, support and care necessary for their wellbeing
- participate and be heard in discussions and decisions that will affect them (when they are capable of forming their own views)
- be brought up by their own family unless it is contrary to the child’s best interest
- maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child’s best interest
- education and information which is linguistically, culturally, psychologically and developmentally appropriate (especially that which will promote his or her social, spiritual, psysical and mental health)
- the highest attainable standards of health
- a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development
- rest, leisure, play and recreation.
Parents and families’ rights, responsibilities, roles and diversity
- Parents (or, where applicable, the members of the extended family, other carers or legal guardians) have strengths, responsibilities, rights and duties in the upbringing and development of their children.
- Parental and family mental health and wellbeing are significant determinants of children’s health and wellbeing.
- Australian families are diverse, with unique physical, psychological, emotional, social, cultural, linguistic and spiritual dimensions, and their own networks and family and community identify. Families have a right to support and care that is responsive to their continuing and differing needs.
- Families and their members have a right to privacy.
Rights and responsiblities of people with mental illness
- United Nations’ Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness and for the Improvement of Mental Health Care (1991)
As stated in this document, individuals seeking promotion or enhancement of mental health or care and protection when affected by a mental illness have rights and responsiblities. (See Australia’s equivalent – the ‘Mental health statement of rights and responsibilities’ above).