Harm to child resulting from parents symptoms eg delusions involving the child,
inability to meet physical needs, suicidal thinking including the child.
may face boundary and reality issues because of the ways in which their parents
functioning is affected.
Care may be unpredictable and inconsistent, leading
to attachment and behaviour issues.
may have to take on responsibilities within their family which are inappropriate for their
of mental illness leads to isolation.
are fearful that children will be removed, and are thus fearful of asking for help.
mental health and drug services are often not family friendly.
lives are disrupted by parents hospitalisation and drug rehabilitation.
may be affected differently at different developmental stages.
health disorders may contribute to difficulties sustaining employment, and to disrupted
Poverty and isolation in any context are factors which contribute to the risk of maltreatment.
parents have difficulty maintaining relationships children may have no allies.
may be learn antisocial behaviours associated with illicit drug use.
V. Cowling, Meeting the Support
Needs of Families With Dependent Children Where the Parent Has a Mental Illness in
AIFS Family Matters, No 45, Spring/Summer, 1996
Shipp, Women and Children Living with Mental Illness in Balance, Queensland
Association for Mental Health, Summer, 1999
Child Maltreatment and Mental Disorder, Discussion Paper No.3, National Child Protection
Clearing House, AIFS, Melbourne,1996
for older children:
Diner, (1989) Nothing to be ashamed of: Growing up with Mental Illness in Your Family. New York:
Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books.
Duke (1992), A Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic-Depressive Illness. New York: Bantam
Forward (1990), Toxic Parents. New York: Bantam Books.