Thursday, July 12, 2018

Leaflets for children of parents admitted to mental health wards

A set of leaflets for children whose parents are admitted to a mental health ward have been developed to support families.

The leaflets are part of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust's Think Family initiative, which seeks to strengthen how we think about all our patients within their wider family networks.

Sarah Panzetta, Patient Information Manager at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I love these leaflets – they’re engaging, well-considered and beautifully designed.

“I think the resources will be a great help to children who are trying to understand their parents’ mental health problems and why they are in hospital.

“We are sure the project will support health professionals and others needing to have difficult conversations with children.

“I’m very impressed by all those who created and edited the leaflets, they have done a magnificent job.”

The leaflets originated from the Friends and Family Clinic, Nelson ward, Lambeth Hospital, identifying a need to support those looking after the children of mothers admitted to the unit - often under traumatic circumstances for the child.

The team wanted a way to help carers, often extended family members, start conversations with children about why their mother had been taken to hospital, through providing age-appropriate written information for the carers to use.

When Reay House library helped with an extensive search and found no suitable literature for children in this specific situation, a Quality Improvement project was launched. 

Draft information leaflets for three age ranges were piloted with patients, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service colleagues, children, families, social services, teachers and young carers at Our Time, a charity which supports young carers of parents with mental illness.

The leaflets have undergone several cycles of revision following feedback from different groups to reach the final versions.

The leaflets are free to circulate, download and print by individuals, agencies, or professional groups such as social services and schools. The leaflets can be accessed here or below: 

Please note: The leaflets should be printed in booklet format.

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