Peer connections as an intervention with children of families where a parent has a mental illness: moving towards an understanding of the processes of change

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Prevention and early intervention programmes have been found to impede the transmission of mental illness from parents to children. However, the extant processes of change in such programmes are less clear. This study focuses on the impact of a peer support programme developed for children and adolescents who have a parent with a mental illness and examines the processes of change which might promote positive outcomes for youth. A mixed methods research approach was employed with participants aged between 8 and 12 years old; 69 completed pre- and post-questionnaires and 18 of these same participants engaged in telephone interviews post programme. Results demonstrate improved mental health knowledge and children reported that they were more likely to use an anonymous telephone helpline after attending the programme. Children indicated that the programme provided a place of respite from caring for their parent with a mental illness, an opportunity to connect with peers, and a positive change in perception of their parent s mental illness. The reported findings are moving towards an understanding of the process of change in programmes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177 - 185
Number of pages9
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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