Monday, 17 November 2014

Family focus - talking together about parental depression & anxiety

Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) and Beyondblue, DVD

Family focus is a DVD divided into two sections: adults and children. The children’s section has a video featuring two young women who have parents living with mental illness and helpful resources including the Koolta help music video.

For adults, there are two short films to view, the first one is entitled Karl’s story and the second Christina’s story. Both look at the impact of a parent’s mental illness on families and on children.

Karl’s Story shows how prevalent depression is for men in a rural setting. An important message is to identify and encourage people to get help and not dismiss what they are experiencing.  This film is valuable because it shows families as a unit and the benefit of supporting parents for the health and wellbeing of children.

The second film Christina’s story, is about anxiety. Christina, a mother of two primary school children Ella and Jason, is overwhelmed living with anxiety. What this film makes clear, is that children need to be included in discussions and understandings about their parent’s mental illness and know it is not their fault.

The Children’s section features Amy and Jess, who are young women who have parents with a mental illness. They emphasise facts about mental illness and messages such as, we all have days when we are sad but when people are so sad it is “hard to do everyday things, this kind of worry is called anxiety”.  Kids need to know that when parents live with anxiety or depression, it is not their fault. The “most important thing to do is to keep on being a kid” with time to do enjoyable things. It is tough for the person who is unwell but also for their children. Talking about it as a family can be really helpful.  Also in the children’s section of the DVD is Koolta’s rapping about parent’s mental health to help kids remember key messages.  This V-Clip can be viewed on youtube.

Find more fun youtube clips with key messages on what kids need to know on the COPMI website, under the kids, teens and young adults page. Plenty of other useful resources for families and health professionals are found on the COPMI website, including participation strategies on how to involve both youth and adults in mental health.

The AWCH library also holds books for health professionals such as Children caring for parents with mental illness: perspectives of young carers, parents and professionals and Children of parents with mental illness edited by Vicki Cowling.

Review by: Jillian Rattray
AWCH Librarian -
November 2014

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