Talking with teenagers 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 together you can better understand mental illness and recovery in your family. It steps you through:

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

Children at different stages will notice and react to your behaviours and emotions differently. Teenagers are in the process of developing an adult view of the world. Your behaviours may challenge how they see you and how they see themselves.

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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