Engaging with parents who have a mental illness

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.

  1. Think about your own assumptions and how you might come across to others
  2. Assume the encounter will be productive
  3. Accentuate the positive
  4. Stay curious
  5. Assume the parents’ expertise
  6. Negotiate in the face of hostility
  7. Be open and transparent
  8. Change position when you get stuck
  9. Offer another meeting – even if this one does not go well
  10. Think beyond the label of mental illness
  11. Try to build a relationship before problems arise
  12. Think about the parents’ culture and any language difficulties

Engaging with parents who have a mental illness

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