What structures and processes are in place at your service to facilitate greater opportunities and positive outcomes for all family members where a parent has a mental illness (FaPMI)?
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As part of the FaPMI service development strategy (described below), FaPMI coordinators have been embedded within the eleven area mental health services (AMHS) in Victoria (or another suitable community program).
FaPMI coordinators champion and organise activities within the catchment area of their employing service. They work closely with mental health services and network partners1 to develop a service provision that best reflects the needs of the region. Whilst they do not provide direct clinical care, as part of their role FaPMI coordinators offer:
They also support specific peer programs such as:
1 Network partners of specialist mental health services include, for example, local community agencies, maternity services, primary care and community health services, universal and targeted early years services, child and family support services, school nurses and student wellbeing and support staff, youth services, forensic, emergency services, housing and drug and alcohol services.
Find out more about current FaPMI-related activities happening in your region. Contact your local FaPMI coordinator or the State-wide Coordinator. Download contact details here.
The FaPMI Service Development Strategy was launched in 2007 by the Department of Health following increased recognition of the impact of mental illness on parents and the consequences of this for their families, particularly dependent children. The overall aim of the statewide strategy, which was later enhanced in 2008, is to reduce the impact of parental mental illness on all family members through timely, coordinated, preventative and supportive action. Read more about the specific aims and objectives of the strategy.
Specialist public mental health services and networked partner services are expected to put in place structures and processes that support the implementation of the FaPMI strategy. Activities undertaken in service of the key objectives of the strategy vary by Victorian Health and Human Service catchment area.
Coordination and advisory structures in place to assist with the implementation of the strategy include:
Since the launch of the FaPMI strategy in 2007, much has been achieved in addressing workforce change in relation to FaPMI and in developing partnerships with organisations and individuals. The presence of FaPMI coordinators in the eleven AMHS has encouraged service providers to start thinking more strategically about the ways their service identifies and responds to the needs of FaPMI. These coordinators act as ‘boundary spanners’ across the region in promoting awareness about FaPMI and building the capacity of services to work more effectively together.
In a 2012 preliminary evaluation of the FaPMI strategy undertaken by Monash University, two FaPMI-coordinated catchments along with two catchments without FaPMI coordinators were purposefully targeted as evaluation sites. The evaluation encompassed stakeholder interviews (n=38), analysis of policy documents, a survey of the practices of mental health clinicians (n=83) and an analysis of 2007 to 2011 Child FIRST and Area Mental Health Service Client Management Interface (CMI) data. The findings were formally approved by The Honourable Mary Wooldridge, Minister for Mental Health, Women's Affairs and Community Services for official public release. Read more about the evaluation of the strategy.
In summary, the findings suggest that:
Key changes in Area Mental Health Services where there is a FaPMI coordinator
Area mental health services in which there is a FaPMI coordinator have progressed significantly in improving policy and protocols around this population. Improved identification of clients who are parents and identification of dependent children, development of policies around children visiting parents who are inpatients and improving the physical spaces with services for families to be together, the development of family care plans, and integrating training to better respond to the needs of FaPMI into essential skills training, are just some of the changes made in these AMHS.
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