Ruah Community Services Ruah Community Services

Perspectives on children families and mental health

A resource unit to support services and workers improve outcomes for children and families affected by parental mental illness

Perspectives on children families and mental health is the result of the Division of Mental Health’s on going commitment to improving the short and long term physical, emotional, educational, social and mental health and wellbeing outcomes for children growing up with parents experiencing a mental illness.

Its role is to support the work of services and workers in many settings to improve the outcomes for children and their families where a parent experiences a mental illness. This supports the range of activities undertaken within WA State Government Departments which are collaborating in the WA COPMI Initiative. It also creates opportunities for Non Government and community services, consumers and carers to participate in a variety of ways in the initiative.

What is the WA COPMI Initiative?

The WA Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) Initiative is a collaborative interagency systemic change process that aims to improve the health and wellbeing of children with a parent with a mental illness.

The WA COPMI initiative has been overseen by a State-wide Advisory Committee with representation from State and Commonwealth government, non-government and community stakeholders. The Committee focused on facilitating processes between agencies and departments to implement the Office of Mental Health 2002 "Pathways to Resilience - Children of Parents with Mental Illness Project Report".

Ruah Inreach has been a key partner in the project contributing to the specialised area of Children of Parents with Mental Illness (COPMI) since January 2002 with funding via the Commonwealth Department of Families and Community Services, WA Mental Health Division, the WA Department of Community Development and Lotterywest.

Ruah was first involved in a three year demonstration project providing direct service for families with children under 10 and a parent experiencing a mental illness in the Armadale region; followed by a key facilitation and coordinating role in a State-wide systemic change project; and currently in two grassroots partnership projects: Family to Family and Early Years.

What is Ruah's role in the COPMI project?

Ruah's key roles have been:

* Training module development and the provision of other training and resource back-up for workforce development in the COPMI area. For more information see Workforce Development Training.

* Resourcing and supporting three project workers in pilot sites of Armadale, Clarkson and Albany.

* Creating an opportunity for families to document their experiences to share with other families who are parenting with a mental illness. This has led to the publication of a series of booklets called “Family to Family- telling it like it is”

For more information and to download or order the booklets see: Family to Family-telling it like it is

* Development and direct provision of workshops to families with a parent who experiences mental illness.

For more information see: Family to Family Partnership Project.

* Community development, capacity building and networking activities to support the objectives of the COPMI project.

For more information see: Early Years Partnership Project.

* Conducting action research processes throughout the life of the project.

* Lead agency in a number of grassroots partnership projects.

In-house service capacity building for Ruah Inreach Mental Health Services which has included:

* Workforce development

* Service policy development

* Trial of Specialist Family Worker

* Family Inclusive Practice induction training

What does Perspectives do?

Perspectives provides information and training, creates opportunities for people to come together and share their knowledge and skills and gathers information and resources to share across sectors. It can act as a connection point to access information, raise issues, and encourage partnerships around specific issues.

We do this by offering:

  • Comprehensive interactive website including………..web 2 technology
  • E-newsletter
  • Practical resources online (such as factsheets and toolkits) for a range of sectors
  • Supporting networks and forums
  • Workforce development modules relevant for a range of sectors
  • Working with a family under pressure; Impact of mental illness on the family
  • Awkward COPMI conversations
  • Collaborative practice with COPMI Families
  • Adult Mental Health Family Inclusive Training
  • Presentations at conferences, forums, network meetings at the local, state, national and international level
  • Print and online publications
  • Network development and partnerships to ensure sustainability
  • Participation on a range of local and state project and network committees
  • Resource Room including hard copy reference material, DVDs, kits and resources to support mental health literacy for children, families and workers.

Coming soon

orkforce development opportunities in the Fremantle and Mandurah

Working with a family under pressure - Impact of Mental Illness on the Family- what do we really understand about mental illness, what do we need to know about how it can impact on all family members, how it can impact on children’s development and whole life opportunities

Awkward Conversations – talking with children and parents about mental illness

Collaborative Practice with COPMI Families- everyone works with families and children who experience mental health problems- what do we need to know about each others services and systems in order to work collaboratively with families and with each other

A website - not live yet - stay posted
The purpose of the website is to bring local WA expertise within easy reach and help workers access information and services to help them in their work with children and families. This is particularly important for rural and remote practitioners.
We will be inviting contributions from WA researchers and projects working on new knowledge building and practice development and innovations
Project reports and regular updates about innovations and regional networks will occur by newsletter and the website.
Resource kits, fact sheets, articles and publications on line and web links to key information.

Family to Family Workshops- a capacity building partnership with Wanslea Family Services will allow the two agencies to jointly provide a regular series of Family to Family Workshops to support all family members to manage the demands of a mental illness and the challenges of parenting. The workshop trails have been positively evaluated and we are very excited to be able to continue this work.
Information about the availability of the workshops, when and where they’ll be offered, referral processes, information for families and services will be made available by December 09. The first Family to Family workshop for 2010 will be offered in February – stay posted

Contact Us:

Carol Clark
Phone: 08 9208 0505
Fax: 08 9443 9015
PO Box 584, Mt Hawthorn, 6915