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A substantial proportion of adults known to mental health services have children. Many parents with mental health problems parent successfully. Some parents with mental health problems need support with parenting.

Parents/carers affected by mental illness face particular challenges; many are fully aware that their disorder affects their children even if they do not fully understand the complexities, and all children will be sensitive to their parent’s/carer’s state of mind.

Children in families affected by mental illness are vulnerable to achieving poor outcomes both on account of their parent’s/carer’s disorder and because of secondary factors that can accompany any chronic illness, for example, low income, poor housing and neighbourhood, stressed family relationships and societal prejudice. They may also be required to take on significant caring responsibilities for parents and younger siblings.

To ensure that the needs of both parents/carers and children are met, a high level of joint working is needed from staff/volunteers that deliver services to adults who are parents/carers with a mental health problem, and staff/volunteers that deliver services to children/ young people whose parents/carers have mental health problems.

If you think that a child/young person is in immediate danger you must ring the police on 999.

If you think that a child/young person whose parent/carer has mental health problems is at risk you must make an immediate referral to Islington’s Children’s Social Care Referral and Advice Team, 020 7527 7400,

If you have concerns about the mental health of a parent/carer contact the Mental Health Assessment and Advice Service on 0203 317 6805 for information and advice.

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