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This presentation has been produced by COMIC in cooperation with the. COMIC. Children Of Mentally Ill Consumers. Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 16.3. “The Family is the natural fundamental group unit of Society and is entitled to protection by society and state.”.

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Presentation Transcript
slide1

This presentation

has been produced by

COMIC

in cooperation

with the

comic
COMIC

Children Of Mentally Ill Consumers

slide3
Universal Declaration

of

Human Rights

Article 16.3

“TheFamilyis the natural

fundamental group unit of Society

and isentitledto protection by

society and state.”

current concerns
Current Concerns

Is this truly occurring within the Mental Health System at the moment?

How is family identified?

Are the right questions being asked?

Is the family being protected by society and state?

With lack of education and support how can the family

possibly be protected?

slide5

It is important to remember….

Better to build children

than repair adults

The purpose of adults is

to raise children

It takes a whole community

to raise a child

slide6

It involves understanding of

the illness and its influence

to achieve this outcome!

slide7

What is ‘Mental Illness’?

Mental illness – a significant impairment of an individual’s cognitive affective and/or relational abilities which may require intervention and may be a recognised, medically diagnosable illness or disorder. Mental illnesses/disorders are of different types and degree of severity and some of the major mental disorders perceived to be public health issues are depression, anxiety substance abuse disorder, psychosis and dementia.

ADGP (Australian Divisions of General Practice) 2001, Familiarisation Training – GP and Practice Manual – Better Outcomes in Mental Health Area Package, ADGP, Canberra, p.7. and Commonwealth Department of Health and Aged Care 2000b, p.3.

the need for comic
The need for COMIC

COMIC formed in 2000 by a group of adults who share a common interest in the well being of children of parents who have a mental illness.

The group shares a common perception of the past failure by the mental health services to acknowledge and support them as children with special needs and assistance.

The group saw the need to lobby and advocate for the rights of these children and the ill parent who continue to suffer due to the lack of sufficient acknowledgment, education and support by services.

what drives comic
What drives COMIC ?

No one should grow up isolated and stigmatised because their parent has a mental illness.

Having a mental illness creates an additional challenge to effective parenting.

Mental illness in a parent may complicate the progression of offspring through their childhood.

A child’s needs are paramount and must be addressed in the context of a family where mental illness is present.

slide11

Current Issues

Children do not exist ! Children of Mentally Ill Consumers (Parents) do not exist. We do not exist with the Bureau of Statistics. In many hospitals we do not exist on admission sheets.

slide12

Current Issues

What do you tell children ?

There are many parents, educators and health professionals that are unsure what to tell children about mental illness even though there is material currently available to utilise. Every child has the right to be safe and secure with relevant information and understanding. Then the whole family will grow.

slide13

Current Issues

Could I lose my children ?

Some vulnerable parents are afraid of having their children taken away because they are ill. We’re sure this is not the case with parents who have diabetes, heart problems etc. Respite services should be made available.

slide14

Current Issues

Inadequate counselling for children ! There is no counselling in most states available to these children on trauma, anger and behavioural management unless they present with a problem and come through the services.

slide15

Current Issues

Inadequate support services ! With deinstitutionalisation there has unfortunately been a lack of support and services for parents and that this affects the children too!

slide16

Current Issues

Communities lack understanding ! The stigma of mental illness has a huge effect on these children and they somehow have to try and grow up at the same time.

slide17

Current Issues

Schools and pre-schools may not be aware ! The stigma of a family mental illness may have a huge effect on the education of these children and they somehow have to try and grow up at the same time, as well as probably taking on the role of being a primary carer in the family.

slide19

What are some of the indicators?

The students may be:

too embarrassed to talk to friends and

too fearful of being taken away from their parents

to confide in teachers or even extended family.

slide20

It's the fear of being separated from their parents that traps many in silence, as does the ignorance of their friends and schoolmates.

“At school, we try talking about it, but all they want

to do is go off and play games and stuff.

They just don't understand it.”

7.30 Report ABC

slide21

Their parents may have one or more of a range of mental illnesses -- schizophrenia, depression, bipolar and anxiety disorders -- illnesses that at times disrupt daily lives, can cause family separations and force some into temporary foster care.

“My mum was sick when I was born and I've only seen her once a week. …

She has Schizophrenia.”

7.30 Report ABC

slide22

What are some of the indicators?

The students may be:

weary or falling asleep in class

showing emotional immaturity

frequent truants

slide23

What are some of the indicators?

The students may be:

seen to demonstrate over caring or protectiveness of peers

poor academic achievers

slide24

What are some of the indicators?

The students may be:

withdrawn and depressed

victims of bullying and teasing

lacking in socialisation skills

slide25

“Sometimes they might come up to you and tease you, like there's a boy in our class and he's just -- if you tell him that, he'll just be really, really mean.

So that's why I don't tell very much people.”

Female student

7.30 Report ABC

slide26

What are some of the indicators?

The students may be:

disruptive in class or group work

displaying signs of neglect

hiding evidence of physical abuse

slide27

Remember that as professionals…

In instances of abuse:

You are required to fulfil the expectations of mandatory reporting

And/or notify the school counsellor immediately

slide28

What are the children’s needs?

The students:

need to be listened to - which may require time and patience

need to know their conversations are treated with the upmost confidentiality

need assurance that they are not isolated in their experiences

slide29

What are the children’s needs?

The students:

need encouragement in the development of a wide range of school and personal skills

need support in understanding the nature of their parent’s mental illness

slide30

Many of them don't fully understand what's wrong with their mum or dad, so sometimes they're a bit confused about the behaviours that their mum or dad is experiencing.

And may be quite alone in that.

slide31

What are the children’s needs?

The students:

need to have a care plan set up

slide32

What can schools and pre-schools do?

Access the “Supporting Our Family Kit”

slide34

Some support structures you can apply as professionals…

You could:

establish an interagency support plan … talk with CAMHS or Adult Mental Health Services

implement mental health focussed initiatives in the curriculum…..Mind Matters, SANE, Mental Illness Fellowship Education materials

slide35

Some support structures you can apply as professionals…

You could:

organise an assessment of the child’s needs - it may be as simple as establishing a breakfast program

encourage appropriate emotional expression in a safe and accepted way

slide36

Some support structures you can apply as professionals…

You could:

organise parent-child support groups

make resources such as books and videos available in the school library

slide37

Some support structures you can apply as professionals…

You could:

link into young carers programs ..e.g. Raw Energy

establish a ‘safe zone’ where students can escape the pressure temporarily

slide38

Some support structures you can apply as professionals…

You could:

provide access to additional support in their academic needs

provide access to additional support in their sporting and social needs

slide39

Some support structures you can apply as professionals…

If they have on-going issues

provide a direct link for the child (and his/her siblings) to external support groups/programs … such as Anglicare, Centacare, Central Mission

and if necessary - a referral to CAMHS

slide40

But sometimes it only takes…

A caring ear, the time to talk and being there….

One teacher + one student = personal support and mentoring …… it doesn’t take much to support and make a life a little easier

slide41

Most of the students living with a family member with a mental illness have seen more than you or I will ever see in a lifetime.

And yet, some are so full of optimism !!!!

slide42

Mental Health….

the capacity of individuals and groups to interact with one another and their environment in ways that promote subjective wellbeing, optimal development and use of mental abilities (cognitive, affective and relational) and achievement of individual and collective goals consistent with justice.

Australian Health Ministers 1998

slide43

United Nations Convention

On the Rights of

The Child (1990)

Articles 1- 41

“Every child has the right to protection, support and care necessary for their well-being, participate and be heard in discussions that will affect them, 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 interests, education and information which is linguistically, culturally and developmentally appropriate.”

slide44

This presentation

has been produced by

COMIC

in cooperation

with the