Parenting and mental illness: the school years

23 Aug 2012


Bringing up children can be tough at the best of times. When a parent has a mental illness it’s even more of a challenge. What are the problems that they face? And what do parents with a mental illness say would help support them in their role and make a difference to their families?

Parents living with a mental illness want to do their best for their children. The challenges faced by all parents are made more stressful, however, by the effects of mental illness, and by lack of sufficient understanding and support in the community.

A previous SANE survey investigated parenting in the early years, when the child is an infant (Research Bulletin 13). This new study asks about the experience of being a parent with a mental illness when the child is of school-age. It asks about what support has been available to parents, and what assistance they would like for themselves and their family. This is especially important, as having a parent with a mental illness is a recognised risk factor for the child to develop mental health problems later in life, such as depression and anxiety disorders.

The survey was conducted in May 2012 in partnership with COPMI, the national initiative for Children of Parents with a Mental Illness.

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