COPMI Resources

Ruby’s dad – A story about living with a parent who is a heavy drinker

Author: Frances Rabone

This storybook (which features a first page with guidelines for parents or carers to read) is for children aged 6-11 years whose parent or relative has a drinking problem. It can be use to start a conversation with children in a similar situation, so they can talk with you about what it’s like for them. […]

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‘Ruby’s dad’ – With guidelines for schools

Author: Frances Rabone

This storybook is for children aged 6-11 years whose parent or relative has a drinking problem. The first page feature guidelines and suggestions for schools about the way this text should be used. It is suggested that the text not be used in classrooms, but that schools or teachers call for specific guidance and information: […]

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Talking with teenagers about mental illness

This two-page information sheet provides tips on talking with teenagers about their parent’s mental illness.

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Children’s mental health and wellbeing: Exploring competencies for the early childhood education and care workforce (Final report)

Author: The Hunter Institute of Mental Health

‘What knowledge and skills can educators integrate into their practice, to most effectively support children’s mental health and wellbeing? This project, an initiative of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, explored this issue by drawing on research, policy, expert opinion and consultation. Other objectives for this project were to examine the inclusion of […]

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Supporting parents, supporting children: A Victorian early parenting strategy

This report has been written for early parenting services to guide on providing specialist support to vulnerable children and families from pregnancy to pre-school years.

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Parents with mental health issues: Consequences for children and effectiveness of interventions designed to assist children and their families

Author: Dr Leone Huntsman

‘This report reviews research on the consequences for children of having a parent with mental health issues, and the effectiveness of strategies and interventions designed to support affected families. The review aims to address the following key questions: What is the evidence regarding parental mental health issues as a significant risk factor for child abuse […]

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Reviews of the ‘SMILES program’ for young people with a parent or sibling who has a mental illness

Author: Various

Access program evaluations of the SMILES program (‘Simplifying Mental Illness + Life Enhancement Skills’). This is a peer-supported program for children who have a parent or sibling experiencing mental illness. Evaluations from Canada, Australia and America.

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Your child’s support network

This guide was developed in partnership with parents who live with a mental illness, their children and supporters. It is designed to help parents think about the relationships in their child’s life and ways to strengthen these to support their child and the family unit.

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‘Pathways of care’ resource

The pathways of care resource has been developed for professionals working with parents who experience mental illness and their families. It offers the opportunity to map out services within a community that families are connected with (or could connect with) to support their needs. The resource considers the needs of the child, the parent and […]

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‘About mental illness’: Video clips for young people who have a parent with mental illness

Author: The COPMI national initiative

Short, engaging video clips for young people (10+ years) who have a parent experiencing mental illness. Produced by young people and professionals, they cover common questions like ‘what is mental illness?’, “will my parent get better?’, the importance of ‘looking after you’. The page also includes videos explaining how each mental illness may present itself […]

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Our Time manual – A supported playgroup for parents with mental illness

Author: Anglicare and The Northern Area Mental Health Service (NAMHS)

The Our Time playgroups are designed specifically for parents who experience a mental illness. The Our Time Manual provides information about the development, implementation and evaluation of the Our Time Playgroup model for organisations. It also provides practical information for facilitators and parent peer leaders. It is hoped that the manual will be a useful […]

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Brighter Futures

The Family and Community Services website offers these pages on the Brighter Futures program offered across NSW. It is oriented to professionals andoffers links to a range of Brighter Futures Practice Resources (which feature specialised guidance to support work with families). It also offers arange of fact sheets and brochures, many of which are available […]

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Blue Pages – Depression Information

BluePages is produced by the National Institute for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University. It provides information for people who are experiencing depression. ‘BluePages is one of a kind – it provides users with the highest quality scientific evidence on interventions for depression plus consumer perspective and understanding.’ Major sections of their website […]

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Bipolar Bears – A storybook for children who have a mum or dad with bipolar disorder

Author: Sue Hueston

This beautifully illustrated children’s book,finished in watercolour,is for children 5 years and above. It helps them tounderstand the behaviours associated with experiencing bipolar disorder. The book follows the story of Daddy Bear and his family as he has a bipolar episode. His children are dragged along on his rollercoaster ride where he starts many activities […]

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Big Red Book: A Directory and Handbook for People who work with Young People in the ACT (Version 6)

Author: Youth Coalition of the ACT

The Big Red Book is the first handbook and directory for people who work with young people in the ACT. It has been designed for use by a range of professionals who may have contact with young people including youth workers, general practitioners and teachers. In addition to providing service profiles, this handbook also provides […]

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Big and me

Author: David Miller

This story is a metaphor for a child living with an adult who experiences mental illness. Big and Me is dramatically illustrated with paper sculpture. The story follows Big and Small who are machines that work together as a team. But some days Big goes a bit wobbly, and Small gets worried. Big malfunctions in […]

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Baby care plan template

This care plan template is designed for parents to complete regarding the care of their infant when they are unwell or unavailable. More information about care plans

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Dual Diagnosis Resources – for Workers and Families

The Dual Diagnosis resources featured on this page can be accessed by professionals, but also families where there is a diagnosis of mental illness and substance use issues. Used together as a ‘kit’ the resources includes: a booklet for caseworkers, regarding Dual Diagnosis and the impact on parenting and the child a booklet to support […]

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The developing world of the child: Resource pack

Thischild development training packprovides new perspectives on child development and looks at children in their varied and diverse contexts. It is designed for practitioners working with children and families, their managers and trainers, in practice supervison or formal training programmes. Thepack is particulary relevant for staff in social care, health and eduction who may be […]

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Children’s needs: Parenting Capacity. The impact of parental mental illness, problem alcohol and drug use, and domestic violence on children’s development

Author: Cleaver H, Unell I, Aldgate J.

The second edition of this report provides an update on the effect of parental problems, such as substance misuse and mental illness, on children’s welfare. In many families, children’s health and development are being affected by the difficulties their parents are experiencing. The findings from research, however, suggest that services are not always forthcoming. Practically […]

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Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) NSW Framework for Mental Health Services 2010-2015

Author: Department of Health, NSW

This is a policy directive from the NSW Government that aims to: Foster the continuing development of Area Mental Health Services for children of parents with a mental illness and their families; and Assist Area Mental Health Services in the ongoing development of collaborative approaches with key partners and agencies working with children and their […]

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The Flying Dream

Author: Samantha Tidy

This story book has been written for children of parents with dual diagnosis (mental illness and substance abuse). It can also be used to work with parents tohelp them understand their children’s needs and to identify what they can do differently to help them. This publication was developed by the NSW Department of Community Services […]

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Handle with care: A workbook about mental illness for 8-12 year olds

Author: Mental Health Carers Arafmi (WA) Inc.

This workbook about the topic of mental illness is for 8-12 year olds. It contains information and activities to help young people understand more about mental illness, self-care and coping with their feelings. Updated, the bright workbook includes illnesses such as anxiety and borderline personality disorder. The workbook can be used in a group setting […]

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Fourth National Mental Health Plan: An agenda for collaborative government action in mental health 2009-2014

Author: Commonwealth of Australia, Australian Health Ministers

This document, launched by the Australian Health Ministers’ Conference (AHMC) in November 2009, is the product of twelve months of development work including a comprehensive stakeholder consultation process. Endorsement of the plan represents commitment by all governments to implementation of the following vision for mental health set out in the National Mental Health Policy 2008: […]

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Interactive Use of Genograms and Ecomaps and Genograms

Author: Gwen R. Rempel, Anne Neufeld, RN, Kaysi Eastlick Kushner

This article argues for the concurrent and comparative use of genograms and ecomaps in family caregiving research.

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Helping To Piece The Puzzle Together: Early childhood worker’s booklet

Author: Emerging Minds

This is a resource that accompanies the ‘Piecing the Puzzle Together’ booklet. Produced for early childhood workers, it helps them work with children and families where a parent has a mental illness or mental health problem. It was produced with input from staff in childcare centres and junior primary education. Additional support resources for educators […]

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Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024

Author: NSW Mental Health Commission

‘The Strategic Plan sets out actions and future directions for reform of the mental health system in NSW. It maps a demanding agenda for change that puts people – not processes – at the heart of its thinking. It asks that the NSW Government recommit to completing the process of reform begun with the Inquiry […]

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Mental Health Services Consumer and Carer Participation Review -Sept. 2009

Author: Statewide & Mental Health Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Tasmania

‘This report provides recommendations in relation to how mental health services will build and implement a consumer and carer participation model in conjunction with consumers and carers. This, we envisage, will ensure a responsive, inclusive and integrated participation model throughout Tasmania.’ (Excerpt from document)

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Melbourne Charter for Promoting Mental Health and Preventing Mental and Behavioural Disorders

The Melbourne Charter for Promoting Mental Health and Preventing Mental and Behavioural Disorders is the outcome of a worldwide discussion initiated by the organisers and participants of the Global Consortium for the Advancement of Promotion and Prevention in Mental Health (GCAPP) conference entitled From Margins to Mainstream: 5th World Conference on the Promotion of Mental […]

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Raising Children Network – The Australian parenting website

‘Raising Children Network is the complete parenting resource for all stages from pregnancy to newborns to teens. We offer research-based content on hundreds of topics for children and grown-ups.’ This award-winning parenting website offers extensive content on a broad range of up-to-date parenting topics,with videos and interactive guidesfeatured throughout. Curent, research-based material is provided on […]

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Parental Mental Health Vulnerability

Author: Brighter Futures

This is a practice resource developed by ‘Brighter Futures’ (a NSW Government early intervention initiative) about parental mental health issues, and vulnerability.

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Need to Know: A guide for young people who have a parent with mental illness

Author: Support in Mind (Scotland)

This booklet for children (aged 11-14) has been produced by Support In Mind (Scotland). It isa supportive book designed to be read by family members or used as a communication tool by professionals who work with families. It offers information aboutwhat mental illness is, what common mental health terms mean and how mental illness can […]

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Principles and Actions for Services and People Working with Children of Parents with a Mental Illness

Author: Emerging Minds

This key document provides guidance for both organisations and individuals across a wide range of jurisdictions. It is the culmination of an extensive review of the literature and of consultations with parents who have a mental illness, their carers and children, service providers and experts.

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Preventive interventions in families with parental depression: children’s psychosocial symptoms and prosocial behaviour

Author: Tytti Solantaus, E. Juulia Paavonen, Sini Toikka, Raija-Leena Punamaki

‘The aim is to document the effectiveness of a preventive family intervention (Family Talk Intervention, FTI) and a brief psychoeducational discussion with parents (Let’s Talk about the Children, LT) on children’s psychosocial symptoms and prosocial behaviour in families with parental mood disorder, when the interventions are practiced in psychiatric services for adults in the finnish […]

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Piecing The Puzzle Together: Raising young people when mental illness is part of your life

Author: The COPMI national initiative

This booklet is for parents living with a mental health problem or mental illness, whose children are aged between 2 and 7 years. It’s also for partners, family and friends. It contains helpful ideas about being the best parent you can when you’re not as well as you’d like to be and ways to support […]

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Parents as patients: Supporting the needs of patients who are parents and their children

In 1999, a College Working Party was established to consider the issues posed by ‘the patient as parent’ and the implications for children whose parents experience mental disorders. In 2002, the first Patients as Parents report was produced. The current Working Group was set up in 2007 to revise and update this report in the […]

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Patient Experiences – You’d think this roller coaster was never going to stop

Author: Associate Professor Kim Foster

The aims of this qualitative study were to explore the experience of being an adult child of a parent with serious mental illness and how adult children have coped with their experience.

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Parenting Well When You’re Depressed

Author: Joanne Nicholson

Parents with depression may feel depleted by the burden of coping with their illness and unprepared for the challenge of providing a healthy environment for their children. This guide, based on more than ten years of study of depressed parents and their families, offers strategies, action plans, and resources to help depressed parents provide for […]

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Protecting Children is Everyone’s Business: National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children (2009-2020)

The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020 (the National Framework), endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments in April 2009, is an ambitious, long-term approach to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of Australia’s children and aims to deliver a substantial and sustained reduction in levels of child abuse and neglect over time. Under the […]

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Promoting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people from families with a parental mental illness: Key Findings and Promising Practices

Author: Maybery, D. et al

‘This publication highlights the key outcomes and learnings from two projects which responded to the needs of children and young people with a parental mental illness. Paying Attention to Self (PATS) focuses on young people aged 12 to 18 years, while VicChamps is for children aged 5 to 12 years.’

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Download Free COPMI Resources

For use by families where a parent has a mental illness, their supporters, and services who work with them.