Parental mental health and child welfare – the practitioners’ perspective

What is the video about?

This film brings together professionals from health, social care and education to discuss some of the situations highlighted in two parental mental health case studies featured on Social Care TV:�Wendy -�a mother’s story and Cait - a young person's story. Each professional has experience of dealing with parental mental health issues in the voluntary sector, in education, in community mental health and in family centres. The discussion is mediated by Rose De Paeztron, Head of Strategic Development at Family Action, a charity that supports disadvantaged families throughout England.

Messages for practice

  1. Think child, think parent, think family in order to develop new solutions to improve outcomes for parents with mental health problems and their families.
  2. Take a multi-agency approach, with senior level commitment to implement a think family strategy.
  3. Review whether criteria for access to adult mental health and to children’s services take into account the individual and combined needs of children, parents and carers.
  4. Listen to parents and children – most want support that is flexible, based on a relationship with a key worker and takes account of their practical priorities.
  5. Build resilience and manage risk – ensure ready access to specialist mental health and children’s safeguarding services when needed and that staff know who makes what decision in what circumstances.
  6. Increase every family member’s understanding of a parent’s mental health problem – this can strengthen their ability to cope.
  7. Joint training in parental mental health and child welfare is recommended for staff in adult mental health and children’s services as this has been shown to help break down barriers and increase people’s understanding of other service areas and responsibilities.

Who will find this useful?

Staff in mental health and children’s services from all sectors. It is also relevant for those delivering pre-and post-qualifying education and training to health and social care staff and others responsible for workforce development. Service users and their carers and families may also find it useful.