Children of parents with a mental illness are at significant risk of developing a mental illness. This risk may be reduced if appropriate interventions are provided that include information and knowledge about mental illness. While there are some interventions for children of parents with a mental illness, research is lacking about the type of mental health information children need and why they need that knowledge. This study presents the perspectives of a purposive sample of international research experts in the field of parental mental illness about the kind of mental health literacy information children with parents with a mental illness need. Twenty-three participants completed a self-constructed short answer questionnaire about the knowledge needs of children of parents with a mental illness. The qualitative data indicates that ‘identifying information’, ‘making sense of parents behaviour’, ‘coping better’ and ‘respecting safety’ are key knowledge needs of children. Given the views presented, these findings suggest that health care professionals should advocate for policies that support individual-, peer-, and family-focused programs driven by strong evaluation and rigorous research. If this is done, children of parents with mental illness may experience ‘myth busting’ of incorrect information about mental illness.
- Children of parents with a mental illness
- Expert views
- Mental health knowledge
- Preventative intervention