A new DVD is available for parents with depression or anxiety to help them talk with their children about their illness.
“Depression and anxiety affects the whole family,” says Phil Robinson, Chair of the Australian Infant Child Adolescent and Mental Health Association. “Children will notice changes in their parent but won’t necessarily understand, and that’s why it’s important to talk about it with them.”
Mr Robinson says the DVD, entitled Family Focus, is a huge step forward in mental health prevention.
“When parents talk openly about mental illness with their children, they are much more resilient to developing mental health problems themselves.”
The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, said that almost one in four children live in a household where mental illness is experienced.
“These children obviously face unique challenges,” says Mr Butler.
“We know that these children are at greater risk of developing a mental health or substance abuse issue.”
“We’re encouraging parents to be open and talk about their mental health issue with their children and the DVD is designed to help start the conversation.”
According to Associate Professor Michael Baigent, who is a psychiatrist and Board member of beyondblue, many parents face a dilemma over whether to talk about their mental health experiences.
“They face deciding whether to talk about what they’re going through as well as what they should say. This DVD really helps that process.”
Family Focusis based on an approach developed by US-based Dr William Beardslee, an internationally acclaimed specialist in mental illness prevention. It was developed in collaboration with Australian psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health nurses, occupational therapists, social workers, researchers and Australian parents and children with lived experience of parental depression/anxiety.
With support from beyondblue, 50,000 free copies of the DVD are available from www.familyfocusdvd.com.au