This guide is designed to help school staff engage with parents when there are mental health issues. It offers ideas about communication concerning the young person or where parental mental illness had not previously been known about by the school.
The guide covers the following key principles and also includes a case study at the end.
- Think about your own assumptions and how you might come across to others
- Assume the encounter will be productive
- Accentuate the positive
- Stay curious
- Assume the parents’ expertise
- Negotiate in the face of hostility
- Be open and transparent
- Change position when you get stuck
- Offer another meeting – even if this one does not go well
- Think beyond the label of mental illness
- Try to build a relationship before problems arise
- Think about the parents’ culture and any language difficulties