Think parent, think child, think family'.
The Family Model is a useful conceptual framework that can help staff to consider the parent, the children and the family as a whole when assessing the needs of and planning care packages for families with a parent suffering from a mental health problem. The model illustrates how the mental health and wellbeing of the children and adults in a family where a parent is mentally ill are intimately linked in at least three ways
• parental mental health problems can adversely affect the development, and in some cases the safety, of children
• growing up with a mentally ill parent can have a negative impact on a person's adjustment in adulthood, including their transition to parenthood
• children, particularly those with emotional, behavioural, or chronic physical difficulties, can precipitate or exacerbate mental ill health in their parents/carers.
The Model also identifies that there are risks, stressors and vulnerability factors increasing the likelihood of a poor outcomes, as well as strengths, resources and protective factors that enable families to overcome adversity.
In recent years, there has been a notable shift in children's and adult health and social care, placing a greater emphasis to consider the child, parent, and family as a whole.A Think Family approach refers to the steps taken by children’s, young peoples and adult practitioners to identify wider family needs which extend beyond the individual they are supporting. For example, in relation to safeguarding, if you work primarily with adults, you still consider the safeguarding needs of children, and if you work with children, you still consider the needs of the vulnerable adults.
The ‘Think Family’ initiative was introduced by the Department for Children, Schools, and Families (DCSF) in 2008 following the Cabinet Office’s 'Families at Risk' Review.
Think Family highlights the importance of adult and children’s services taking a whole family approach when assessing needs and providing services.
SCIE produced a guide to improving services - Think child, think parent, think family: a guide to parental mental health and child welfare – (SCIE 2009)
Think child, think parent, think family: Introduction - Think Family as a concept, and its implications for practice (scie.org.uk)
Between 2009 and 2011 SCIE worked with local authorities in England to implement and monitor these changes, Liverpool was an implementer site.