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COPMI – Children of Parents with a Mental Illness

The aim of COPMI is to foster better mental health outcomes for children of parents with a mental illness, reduce stigma associated with parental mental illness, and help friends, family and workers identify and respond to the needs of the children and their families where parental mental illness exists.

It is estimated that over 1 million Australian children (or up to 23%) from birth to 18 years of age have at least one parent with a mental illness.

COPMI develops information for parents, their partners, carers, children, family and friends – along with online training courses for professionals – to support families either individually or through community services and programs.

All of these resources are developed under the guidance of people who share the experience of living in families where mental illness is a part of family life, and of leading researchers and service providers in the mental health field.

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Last reviewed: June 2015

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Parenting with a mental illness, and what you can do to help your child and family.

The Children of Parents with a Mental Illness national initiative (COPMI) creates mental health information and resources for Australian parents with mental illness and mental health problems, their children, families, carers and health professionals who work with them.

Read more on COPMI – Children of Parents with a Mental Illness website

Starting the conversation

About starting a conversation about mental illness with your child and family. Tips to think about and advice about how to approach the discussion.

Read more on COPMI – Children of Parents with a Mental Illness website

Will my parent get better?

About things that can help your parent to feel better, or recover from mental illness. Information about medication and what happens in hospital.

Read more on COPMI – Children of Parents with a Mental Illness website

Family & friends

This page is a starting point for extended family and friends of parents who experience mental illness. Educate yourself and find out how to help your loved one.

Read more on COPMI – Children of Parents with a Mental Illness website

About mental illness

These short videos can help you to understand your parent's mental illness and how it affects their behavior. What mental illness is, about different types of mental illnesses ('diagnoses'), whether your parent will get better, and how to look after yourself too.

Read more on COPMI – Children of Parents with a Mental Illness website

Why does my parent have a mental illness?

About the causes of mental illness, and what to do if you're worried you may have a mental illness or mental health problems.

Read more on COPMI – Children of Parents with a Mental Illness website

Working with children/youth

Advice for early childhood workers to help you to assist children who have a parent with a mental illness.

Read more on COPMI – Children of Parents with a Mental Illness website

Your support networks

Parenting can be hard. If you experience mental illness it's extra important to have some close relationships and networks (your 'village') to help you to raise your children and provide support when you're unwell.

Read more on COPMI – Children of Parents with a Mental Illness website

Working with children/youth

Advice and recommendations for community mental health services, when working with children and young people who have a parent with a mental illness.

Read more on COPMI – Children of Parents with a Mental Illness website

'Family Focus' eLearning course

About the evidence-based eLearning course for professionals who are working with parents who experience depression and/or anxiety - 'Family Focus'.

Read more on COPMI – Children of Parents with a Mental Illness website

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