Authors: Lani Kaszanski, WA
Event: 1999 TheMHS Conference
Subject: YOUTH SERVICES, YOUNG PEOPLE, book of proceedings
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: This paper details the development of a unique approach to educating young people about mental illness. The program is targeted at children of parents/siblings with mental illness and covers the age range of 8-18 years. Particular emphasis is paid to delivering information; education and support that is both age appropriate in content and ‘youth friendly’ in process.
Young people with a mentally ill parent/sibling are a particular group in need of understanding and support. Common issues among this client group include pressure to protect younger siblings, look after their unwell parent, conflicting feelings of guilt and loyalty, fear and stress. The degree of responsibility young people feel in this situation is exacerbated in the case of children who are either the only or eldest child, female and/or come from a single parent family.
Young people living in this situation require information about mental illness and support to assist them in developing improved coping skills. The focus of the workshops is on information, education and fun.