Authors: Barbara Anderson, QLD
Event: 2003 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Families, Siblings, Parents
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Two independent papers were presented at the Women’s Health Summit in Townsville in 2001. These two papers exemplified the difficulties that service providers have in providing support and suitable interventions where parents had a mental illness and where parents had children with ADD/ADHD, ODD or Conduct Disorders. A dynamic partnership of interested professionals, parents with mental illness and parents of children with ADD/HD was formed which led to the development of an innovative, integrated, peer supported parenting program. This program incorporates a range of strategies and solutions that are theoretically based but practical, flexible, sensible and adaptable to the fluctuating needs of these families. Two concurrent pilot groups commenced the program in August 2002. The highly visual program ran over seven weeks and comprised orientation, education, relaxation, behaviour management, networking and personal support plans, whole of family needs and a celebration outing. The analogy of parenting being a bumpy ride, particularly for those with special needs, provides the theme for the course. Evaluations were positive with pre and post program testing revealing an overall reduction in stress, depression and anxiety for all group members. The program has been well received by Townsville and rural community services with five community agencies completing facilitation training. This response to an unmet need has generated widespread approval from both parents and professionals.