Response to the Office for National Statistics report on parental mental illness

It is rewarding to have confirmation from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), of associations which we have known clinically for some 45 years since setting up the Association for Family Therapy and then the Institute of Family Therapy.

It is most significant that the ONS report recognises the impact of parental mental illness on a child’s mental health. The ONS findings are also in line with both the research on adverse childhood experience (ACE) as well as the July 2018 report of the Children’s Commissioner for England.

What the ONS will not know – because it is based on clinical experience with research confirmation – is that quite small and cost-effective interventions can easily help to protect a child from the specifically the impacts of parental mental illness.

These include helping the child to understand what is happening to the ill parent and ensuring the child has another adult he/she can call on as well as other young people of similar experience.

Our Time has pioneered interventions, films and other materials to help this process to happen. Protecting children from generic family breakdown is more complex, although these small interventions still go some way to mitigating the negative impacts.  

For more information, you can read our press release here.