Expert views of children’s knowledge needs regarding parental mental illness

Christine Grove, Joanne Riebschleger, Annick Bosch, Daniel Cavanaugh, P.C. van der Ende

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Children of parents with a mental illness are at significant risk of developing a mental illness. This risk may be reduced
if appropriate interventions are provided that include information and knowledge about mental illness. While there are
some interventions for children of parents with a mental illness, research is lacking about the type of mental health
information children need and why they need that knowledge. This study presents the perspectives of a purposive
sample of international research experts in the field of parental mental illness about the kind of mental health literacy
information children with parents with a mental illness need. Twenty-three participants completed a self-constructed
short answer questionnaire about the knowledge needs of children of parents with a mental illness. The qualitative
data indicates that ‘identifying information’, ‘making sense of parents behaviour’, ‘coping better’ and ‘respecting safety’
are key knowledge needs of children. Given the views presented, these findings suggest that health care professionals
should advocate for policies that support individual-, peer-, and family-focused programs driven by strong evaluation
and rigorous research. If this is done, children of parents with mental illness may experience ‘myth busting’ of incorrect
information about mental illness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249
Number of pages6
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number79
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2017


  • children
  • information provision
  • parents with mental illness


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