Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Family Focus: promoting resilience and preventing mental illness in children of parents with depression and anxiety

Improved understanding of the processes that promote resilience in children of parents with a mental illness has resulted in the development of a number of evidence based preventive interventions for this population group.

An example of this is the ‘Family Talk’ intervention, which has been successfully implemented in a number of European health systems. The intervention aims to promote family communication and strengthen the resilience of children of parents with depression.

The success of this approach has lead to a recent Australian adaptation of the preventive intervention by the Children of Parent’s with a Mental Illness (COPMI) national initiative. The adaptation titled ‘Family Focus’ includes a DVD for families and online training for mental health professionals in the preventive intervention. The adaptation of this intervention has been informed by international and national consultation, consumer and carer involvement, and exploration of the enablers to facilitating system–wide implementation of this intervention.

Bradley will provide conference participants with an understanding of the Family Focus program, the international evidence for this approach, strategies undertaken to adapt the intervention for the Australian context and system wide approaches to promote accessibility of this intervention for Australian families Conclusions System-wide strategies to prevent the transfer of mental illness and promote resilience in children of parents with depression and anxiety can be successful.
Building on international experience, Australian families where a parent has depression or anxiety could also benefit from selective prevention strategies that promote child mental health.

Mr Bradley Morgan, Workforce Development Officer, COPMI National Initiative will present at the:

13th International Mental Health Conference, "Positive Change -- Investing in Mental Health"  6th to the 8th of August 2012, on the Gold Coast.

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