Mental Illnesses within a Family - Support is Available!

Given the figures widely quoted in the media, we are all aware that many people in Australia are dealing with mental health issues, and naturally many of them are parents/carers of children.

We know that when teenagers whose parents/caregivers have a mental illness get appropriate support, their wellbeing improves and they are less likely to develop mental health problems themselves.

These young people can be a neglected group – professionals treating the adult can overlook the needs of the children, and both parents/caregivers and the children themselves may not realise how much the kids are being affected. School staff may know nothing of the home situation that is making life more difficult.The Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) [link to] website has information and resources on all aspects of this situation for parents, carers and young people.

One aspect to consider is whether as a parent/caregiver you should tell the school about your circumstances. School staff are aware of issues related to handling sensitive health information and are ready to make accommodations for students who can be under extra pressure from time to time.

COPMI lists some reasons why speaking or writing to the school could help:

• The teacher's awareness of your situation will mean they can better 
understand and respond if problems come up.

• The teacher can make an informed decision about how they respond to common situations (for example, why your child might be late to school, can't finish homework on time or needs access to a mobile phone).

• It allows your child to discuss any concerns or worries they may have with a teacher they trust or the school counsellor.

• It enables the teacher to help build your child’s resilience whilst at school. (They may even be able to include information on mental illness in their lesson plans).

• It challenges stigma and gives you the opportunity to discuss your child and family situation honestly, without having to hide anything.

• It can create an open environment for mental health services to share 
information with the school, allowing them to work more effectively together to your child's benefit.

Please find below details on support programs on offer for parents/caregivers who may be experiencing a death in the family or divorce/separation:

CCSS Solo Parent Ministry will be running an eight session Bereavement Support Program in Springwood for men or women who have suffered the death of their spouse or long term partner. Sessions held on every second Wednesday commencing 3rd Sept   from 10.30am – 12.30pm at the Baptist Church Hall, 313 Macquarie Rd Springwood. 
Details and Registration: or Ph. 99330205

In response to requests and inquiries the CCSS Solo Parent Ministry will be starting a new Monthly Support Group for younger widowed people.  We will trial this group for 12 months, and it will be held on the 2nd Tuesday of each month beginning Tuesday 9th September. Venue: CCSS Centre, 51-59 Allawah St Blacktown. Time: 10.30am-12.30pm Cost: $5.00. Details and Registration: PH: 9933 0205 or Email:
If you have been separated or divorced and would benefit from regular shared discussion evenings with others who are in a similar situation to you, come along to STEPPING BEYOND on the last Tuesday of each month at CCSS Centre, 51-59 Allawah St, Blacktown, at 7.30pm.  
Venue: CCSS centre 51-59 Allawah St, Blacktown. Time: 7.30 – 9.30. Cost: $5.00. Registration: or Ph. 99330205