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In 2006, a number of WA families were invited to come together to reflect on their lived experience of parental mental illness, and talk about the sorts of information, support or experiences that had assisted them to raise their children.
The main question asked was:
Given your experience, what would you say to other families that might help them parent and manage their mental illness?
The result was a series of 5 booklets on topics these families decided were the most important. Each booklet contains information and practical advice that these families would have liked to have known in the beginning of their recovery journey; including important contacts, reflections, poems by individuals, and activities that the whole family have found useful.
The booklets were launched in 2009 by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Mental Health, the Right Honorable Helen Morton.
Family to Family - Telling it like it is
Stories and wisdom from families when a parent has a mental illness
Booklet 1. Our stories
Individuals who have contributed to this booklet have shared their stories in hope that they may help others who are going through similar experiences of having a parent living with a mental illness in the family.
‘As long as you have plenty of help and support it’s not too bad and you learn great lessons’
Booklet 2. Children and parenting
This booklet contains information about the impact of mental illness on the family from the perspectives of individuals who have had lived experience. It includes helpful parenting tips and advice.
“A lot of the stuff you are thinking and feeling is normal parenting stuff, not the mental illness”.- Pia
Booklet 3. Families and recovery
This booklet has been written by a group of individuals who support the principles of recovery and believe that people can choose to live a life of recovery.
“Recovery not only occurs for the person with the illness but everyone else in the family too. The family as a whole will have a recovery journey of its own too as relationships are rebuilt and people make meaning of the experience of mental illness.” – pg.5
Booklet 4. Going to hospital
Having a parent go into hospital as a result of mental illness can be a scary experience for everyone in the family. This booklet draws on the wisdom of these families to provide good information and practical advice for families going through similar experiences.
“Remember to take some flowers, chocolates or a get well card when you go to visit. Not only does it make the person in hospital feel loved and wanted, it also helps to normalize the experience for everyone- after all, we always take gifts in to visit people who have a physical ailment in hospital.”- Anon
Booklet 5. Working things out as a family
This booklet was written for families living with a parent experiencing a mental illness about living with change, problem solving, and planning.
“Remember that making mistakes is inevitable and healthy; mistakes are evidence that we are learning! The important thing is to talk about what has happened together and learn from the experience’ maybe you will do it differently next time.”- pg.7
Printed copies can also be ordered from Perspectives at a minimal cost of $10.00 for the set of 5 Booklets. Phone 08 9208 0505 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org