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Supporting Parents, Healthy Children (COPMIA)

good mental health for kids

Children who have a parent with mental health or addiction issues are at increased risk of a number of poor outcomes, including developing mental health or addiction issues themselves. Although having mental health and addiction related problems is not incompatible with being a good parent, it is likely to affect parenting.

Supporting Parents, Healthy Children (previously known as COPMIA) is about taking a family/whānau-focused approach to mental health and addictions services. It’s well documented that whānau/family interventions to reduce the effects of mental illness, improve outcomes for children and young people affected by mental illness in their whānau/family.

Parenting can promote meaning, purpose and hope. For parents who experience mental illness, parenting often provides the motivation and reason to do all they can to look after their physical and mental health to become well again.

Children and young people need to be able to ask questions and know it is still okay to have fun. Leave the door open for communication. The most commonly expressed fears of children and young people who have a family member with mental illness are:

  • will I catch it?
  • am I responsible to make my parent better?
  • did I cause it?
  • why aren’t we like other whānau/families?
  • what are you the parent doing to get better? 

Recognising children and young people who have a family member with mental illness and providing age appropriate information about mental illness is critical in improving outcomes.

If you would like further information on this area please feel free to contact any of the following people:

Jo Heap – Whanganui DHB (joanna.heap@wdhb.org.nz)

Pauline Humm – Whanganui DHB (pauline.humm@wdhb.org.nz)

Karen Kitson – Whanganui DHB (karen.kitson@wdhb.org.nz)

Fiona Wakeling - Supporting Families (fiona@sfwang.co.nz)

Tracy Tamou – Te Oranganui Iwi Health Authority (ttamou@teoranganui.co.nz)

Cheyenne Potaka-Osborne – Whanganui DHB (cheyenne.potaka-osborne@wdhb.org.nz