Parents with mental illness and their children who often care for
them worry that professionals will try to separate the family and
start child protection procedures.
Research shows how some professionals and agencies discriminate
against parents with mental illness and their children, and that
worrying about their family being split up can have a negative
effect on the parents’ mental health.
The report indicates that children are rarely consulted about their
needs as carers, and that professionals from both adult and
children’s services consider living with and caring for a mentally
ill parent to be “wholly negative and damaging in respect of
childhood experiences and psycho-social development”.
But the findings suggest that in some cases the child’s caring for
their mother or father improves their relationship and can even
promote a feeling of inclusiveness for the child.
Jo Aldridge, principal researcher for the Young Carers Research
Group at Loughborough University, said: “What children need is
recognition for what they do and support for families as opposed to
support aimed only at adults as patients.”
The report, produced in partnership with mental health charity
Rethink, suggests that, where a parent has a mental illness, adult
and children’s services need to work more closely together to
support the whole family.
– Children Caring for Parents with Severe and Enduring Mental