Monash University

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Oslo Riebschleger May 15 2019 at 3 PM Emerging findings from a youth-, parent-, (1).pptx (225.22 kB)

Emerging findings from a youth-, parent-, and professional stakeholder-guided youth mental health literacy program and scale

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posted on 2019-05-24, 01:57 authored by Associate Professor Joanne Riebschleger, Christine GrovéChristine Grové
Children of a parent with a mental health disorder often adjust day to day to the varying symptom levels of the parents’ illness. Often the children share the household impacts of secondary illness sequelae such as mental illness stigma directed toward the family, poverty, parent unemployment, separations from a parent, family conflict, and, sometimes, homelessness or frequent moves. The children experience higher risks of acquiring a mental illness than children that do not have a parent with a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and/or alcohol or other drug abuse. However, some children also report developing increased caregiving, problem-solving, and crisis management skills associated with dealing with the mental illness of a parent or other family member. Despite their requests for mental illness information, children of a parent with a mental illness do not appear to have accurate, non-stigmatized information about mental illness. For example, the children may believe that they are at fault for a parent’s mental illness symptoms. A new mental health literacy program was developed with data drawn from focus groups, interviews, and ongoing participant evaluation data drawn from children that have a parent with a mental illness, parent consumers of mental health services, and professional services providers and researchers. A new mental health literacy scale with early psychometrics found that children significantly increased their knowledge of mental illness from pre to post intervention. Children reported improved coping skills. Community stakeholder-informed practice is recommended for continuing mental health literacy efforts.