Talking with primary school aged children about parental mental illness

The COPMI national initiative, Australia

As a parent with a mental illness, it can be very challenging to think about how your child views what is happening. This resource will help you prepare for conversations with your child about your mental illness so you can help them to have a better understanding of what is happening. It steps you through:

  • understanding your symptoms and behaviours
  • thinking about what your child notices and experiences
  • preparing to talk with your child.

Children at different ages will notice and react differently to your behaviours and emotions. Primary school aged children are very perceptive and pick up on even the smallest changes in their parents’ behaviours and body language.

Although discussions may be short, their meaning is important. Often the first discussion is the most daunting. Small conversations can build on your child’s and your family’s shared understanding over time.

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