Monash University
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The "It Takes a Village" Practice Manual

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posted on 2023-06-19, 04:49 authored by Melinda GoodyearMelinda Goodyear, Ingrid Zechmeister-koss, Matthew Burn, Martina Glatz-Grugger, Anna-Elena Pinggera, Elena Seis, Monika Liengitz, Selcan Basli, Jean Paul

This document describes a practice approach to support practitioners in their work with children of parents with a mental illness and with the parents themselves. It describes a systematic approach on how to integrate new practice elements into existing practice and routine procedures. A practitioner could adopt the approach in working with a parent or child in a range of contexts. In particular though, this framework focuses on practice steps to identify (hereinafter referred to as “Sensitive Screening” SENSE) the children of parents with mental health issues early within adult treatment services; and to build a collaborative village of support around the child to enhance their formal and informal support network (further described as the Collaborative Village Approach, CVA).

This framework is targeted at adult mental health practitioners, primary health clinicians and village facilitators. This document has been created to provide the practitioner all the tools required to understand and implement the practice framework, in a way that meets their needs. It includes the values, attitudes and beliefs that underpin the framework, the knowledge and rationale behind the framework, as well as a practical step by step guide to illustrate how the framework can be used in practice.

The practice manual is a product of the Village Project: Supporting Children of Parents with a Mental Illness in Austria ( It is an evidence informed approach that was codesigned with local stakeholders (see references below) in Tyrol, Austria. This framework is based on research and development in the area of early intervention for children of parents with a mental illness and their families. It is informed by the work of Tytti Solantaus on the Let’s Talk About Children Intervention (Finland); Joanne Nicholson on the Parenting Well Program (USA), Emerging Minds – National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health (Australia), and the COPMI National Initiative (Australia). This framework is also informed from research into practice approaches to support parents and children – and draws on the research literature on family group conferencing, child aware practice, and motivational interviewing.

The manual was developed as part of a collaboration between Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft Institute, Medical University of Innsbruck, HTA Austria and Monash University.


The study received funding from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research through the Open Innovation in Science Center at the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft GmbH in Vienna (Austria)