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Title: Estimating consumer parenthood within mental health services: a census approach
Authors: Howe, Deb;Batchelor, Samantha ;Bochynska, Katarzyna
Affliation: Central Coast Local Health District
Issue Date: Nov-2009
Source: 8(3), 231-241
Journal title: Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health
Department: Health Promotion
Abstract: The few studies reporting the prevalence of parental mental problems or mental illness estimate that anywhere between 20–50% of clients of mental health services may be parents. The studies often fail to fully describe the population, the children involved, and their exposure to potential risk factors. A recent Department of Community Services review identified that parents with mental health issues are over-represented among maltreating families, and the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children emphasised the need to increase the capacity and capability of adult services to identify and respond to the needs of children at risk. This paper describes the historical context, development, and implementation of the Mental Health and Parenting Census which is conducted annually across Central Coast Mental Health Services in New South Wales. In 2008 and 2009, almost one third of clients were identified as parents of children aged 0–17 years. The majority of parents were female, and the most common diagnoses were mood and psychotic disorders. Almost 60% of children were living with the parent with a mental illness on a permanent basis, and over 40% of parents experience low levels of support. The Mental Health and Parenting Census is thought to be the first of its kind to not only determine the prevalence of parenthood amongst active clients of an adult mental health service on a given day, but also to generate contextual information about the parents and the children, including exposure of children to risk factors.
Publicaton type: Journal Article
Keywords: Public Health
Mental Health
Appears in Collections:Public Health / Health Promotion

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