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FaPMI

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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)?

  • Does your service routinely ascertain whether clients/consumers have dependent children?
  • Is this documented?
  • Does your service listen to the experiences of parents who have a mental illness and young carers?
  • Are the waiting areas, meeting rooms and clinical areas in your service family friendly?
  • Does your service routinely provide support and training for staff in working with FaPMI?

COPMI's 'Gateways to Evidence that MatterS' (GEMS) further discuss how services can strengthen their response to families where a parent has a mental illness.

Visit COPMI for a comprehensive suite of information, resources and training.

An image of the children's area at the Bouverie Centre


FaPMI Coordinators – Local support for your service

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:

  • Secondary and tertiary consultation
  • Education and workforce development
  • Resources for practitioners, organisations and  families
  • Input into service and workforce development, policy and planning
  • Program development and implementation
  • Promotion of integration of family focused work into core practice
  • Coordination of partnerships and networks to deliver collaborative care. 

They also support specific peer programs such as:

  • PATS – (Paying Attention to Self) a peer support program for young people aged 12 to 18 years who have a parent with a mental illness. The program is currently being redesigned and facilitator training will be available in the later part of 2016.
  • CHAMPS – a peer support program for children aged 8 to 12 years who have a parent with a mental illness. 
  • SKIPS -  (Supporting Kids in Primary Schools) a mental health promotion program for primary schools about FaPMI

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 recent announcement of an expansion of funding to the FaPMI strategy will see all Area Mental Health Services receive a FaPMI coordinator. We will update this information as it occurs.


About the FaPMI Service Development Strategy

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.

Implementation of the FaPMI 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:

  • Local FaPMI coordinators
  • A statewide coordinator, established at The Bouverie Centre, La Trobe University, oversees the implementation of the strategy across sectors and services.
  • A statewide FaPMI consultation group, comprising representatives from government, consumer and carer groups, peak bodies and service providers informs and guides the development of the strategy

Key activities and project accomplishments

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.

Preliminary evaluation of the FaPMI strategy

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:

  • FaPMI coordination encourages greater numbers of, and more appropriate, mental health referrals to Child FIRST.
  • The FaPMI strategy increases awareness of family needs across the mental health sector.
  • Mental health clinicians in FaPMI coordinated catchments have greater confidence, knowledge and skill when working with families where a parent has a mental illness in comparison to peers operating in areas without a dedicated FaPMI coordinator.
  • Fewer family members are referred to specialised FaPMI programs and support for children and parents in non-FaPMI coordinated catchments.
  • Mental health and family workers in FaPMI coordinated catchments regularly receive FaPMI focused information, secondary consultation/support and training in specific procedures for working with these families.
  • Policy documents from FaPMI coordinated areas reflect more of a focus on identifying the presence of dependent children, providing specialist services to families and collaborating with other services. By contrast, policies in non-FaPMI coordinated regions tended to address risk and child protection issues.

A diagram summarising the essential points of AMHS Worker Practice, Organisational Practice and Enhanced Service Delivery for Families

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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