A woman supporting a young child with homework

Supporting children of parents with mental illness: a systemic approach (DAA021)

Deepen your understanding of the impact of parental mental illness on children’s development and learn strategies for building their resilience

This interactive online course has been delivered in partnership with Our Time Charity, the UK’s only charity supporting children of parents with a mental illness.

Over five hours of learning, you will explore the impact of parental mental illness on children’s cognitive, social and emotional development, and the importance of fostering resilience to help them thrive despite adversity. Drawing on whole-family and systemic approaches, as well as lived experience testimonies, you will consider a range of strategies and complete the course with enhanced confidence and a practical toolkit to support children and young people affected by parental mental illness.

Aims and learning objectives

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • examine the short- and long-term impacts of having a parent with a mental illness, including attachment patterns, cognitive and emotional development
  • explore ways of helping children develop resilience through a biopsychosocial lens, including key principles of Multi-Family Therapy (MFT) and systemic practice, using case studies from the i-THRIVE programme and KidsTime intervention.
  • recognise and appreciate the environmental, societal and cultural barriers to accessing support that this group face and identify strategies to overcome them
  • consider how the principles of an integrated, whole-family approach can be applied to promote engagement, facilitate shared decision making and empower children, young people and their families to be actively involved in decisions about their care
  • critically reflect upon your professional practice and implement strategies to foster resilience and enable children and young people to thrive.

Who will I learn from?

We have developed this course in partnership with Our Time Charity, a UK charity supporting children who have a parent with mental illness. You’ll learn from a range of professionals with expertise in parental mental illness, and hear personal stories from those with lived experience.

Logo with the words 'Our Time Charity'

Who is this course for?

We welcome anyone to this course who has a keen interest in the subject area. In particular, this course is for you if you are working with children, young people and families who are affected by parental mental illness. This includes a wide range of roles, such as adult, family or child psychologists, GPs, nurses, social workers, educators and youth workers.

We can also provide this training for groups and organisations and have experience of facilitating bespoke training. Please contact CPDEvents@tavi-port.nhs.uk for further information.

Course details

This online course is anticipated to open for booking in September 2024. We would love to welcome you as one of the first delegates on the course so please do register your interest today and we will be in touch as soon as the course is available.

Once open, this online course will run continuously – meaning that you can sign up at any time. It offers self-directed learning which you can undertake at a time, pace and location that suits you. You’ll learn through a combination of videos, interactive lectures, activities, evidence-based analysis, further reading and resources.

You will have access to the course and its materials for one year, so that you can revisit and review any part of the course as you need. Access begins the day after you’ve booked, when you will receive your account details by email.

There are five units within this online course, each building on the other to provide you with comprehensive and practical guidance on supporting children and families experiencing parental mental illness.

These units are:

  1. Parental mental illness and the impact on children and young people
  2. Multi-Family Therapy (MFT) and systemic practice in the context of parental mental illness
  3. Safeguarding and risk support
  4. Early intervention, prevention, and promotion
  5. Integrating whole system thinking and support strategies

You’ll explore a wide range of topics and hear from young people with lived experience of parental mental illness about the challenges they faced during childhood and what helped.

These topics include:

  • attachment theory
  • adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)
  • the biopsychosocial model
  • multi-family therapy
  • principles of systemic practice
  • stigma
  • culture and mental illness
  • risk and protective factors for children of parents with a mental illness

There are no specific requirements for the course and there’s no assumption you’ll have prior knowledge in mental health. This course will provide a clear and accessible introduction to the subject.

There’s a multiple-choice question assessment at the end of the course, which provides access to a completion certificate from The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.

Course facilitators

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