Parenting with success and satisfaction among parents with severe mental illness

P.C. van der Ende, Marrie Venderink, J.T. van Busschbach

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Always a complex and demanding task, parenthood can be an extra challenge when parents have severe mental illness. Clients with children may experience extra stress, feelings of uncertainty, and a lack of energy. They may have difficulty in talking about their disabilities with their children. Often, there are struggles with limited material resources and stigma or grief over the loss of having direct custody of their children. In all these situations, clients need support in interacting and communicating with their children in ways that benefit both parties. However, although there is a growing awareness of the needs of these clients and of parental responsibility for the children involved, the parental role is seldom a topic in mental health care. Within the field of rehabilitation, although there is considerable professional literature on skills training and experience in helping clients to realize personal goals in the areas of work, education, living arrangements, and social contacts, there are few or no tools to support clients who wish to strengthen their parenting skills.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number61
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • parenthood
  • mental disorders

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