Children of parents with a mental illness (COPMI) are more likely to experience negative long-term adversities, however interventions to support their needs early can significantly enhance adjustment and reduce negative outcomes. The project “The Village” seeks to improve child development and wellbeing outcomes for children of parents with a diagnosed mental illness. This will be achieved through the co-development, implementation and evaluation of a practice approach to the early identification and collaborative care for COPMI, through establishing child-focused support networks. This project upholds the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) through its overarching focus to listen and understand the ‘child’s voice’, engaging the public in Tyrol, a geographical region of Austria, over the period of four years.
There are approximately 140,000 dependent children (0-18 years) living in Tyrol, mostly in a dual-parent family with a predominantly Catholic faith. Three percent of Tyrol’s population suffer from a mental illness, with most receiving medication as the only treatment. Differences within mental illness presentation, patient age, and uptake of mental health services were identified between men and women. Experiences of mental illness for men and women in the literature will support our interpretations of these data.
The research project aims to directly improve identification and support of vulnerable children across selected regions in Tyrol, Austria, and by doing so, improve the health and wellbeing of future generations, through breaking the cycle of intergenerational transfer of adverse childhood experiences. Website: www.village.lbg.ac.at
Dr Jean Paul is the PI of the Village Project at the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft and Medical University Innsbruck.
She is a social scientist and applied linguist in child health research, using qualitative approaches to explore how people experience and are impacted upon by their interactions with the healthcare system. Before moving to Innsbruck earlier this year, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Australia. She maintains international relationships and is an honorary research fellow with The University of Melbourne and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.
- Mental Health Research Program, The Village, Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft, Innsbruck, Austria;
- Medical University Innsbruck, Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Division of Psychiatry I, Innsbruck, Austria