The COPMI national initiative

Emerging Minds implements the Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) national initiative

The COPMI national initiative aims to improve outcomes for children and families where a parent experiences mental illness. It is funded by the Australian Government.

Extensive work undertaken by the initiative includes:

  • information and online resource development for parents, children, family and friends
  • training for professionals working with parents, children or families
  • organisational guidance and implementation support
  • guidance for systems change and policy.

Information and resources for parents and families

The COPMI website provides access to resources and information for parents with a mental illness and their children, families and carers. These include resources for:

Workforce training and development

The COPMI initiative has undertaken a number of strategies to improve the capacity of the mental health workforce to support children and families where a parent experiences mental illness. The primary method of improving workforce capacity has been the development, implementation and evaluation of elearning resources and training for the mental health professionals.

The first phase of this work has included strategies to improve awareness, knowledge, attitudes and practices of the mental health workforce regarding the needs of children of parents with a mental illness. More recently, this has also involved international collaborations to develop training and implementation resources to support professionals to apply evidence-based prevention interventions including 'Family Focus' (adapted from the USA and Finland) and 'Let's talk about children' (adapted from Finland and piloted in Victorian mental health services).

A range of guidance materials and resources for different professional groups has also been developed to strengthen and evaluate their practice when working with children and families.

Organisation guidance and systems change

The COPMI national initiative develops and maintains relationships with many national peak bodies, service providers, Australia's state and territory mental health departments, non-government organisations and people with lived experience. These relationships help to support systems to be better able to respond to the needs of parents with a mental illness and their children.

COPMI supports this work to occur through its relationships and reference groups, consisting of:

  • family members with a lived experience of a parent's mental illness (e.g. parents with mental illness, their partners, children and carers)
  • peak non-government mental health and family organisations
  • mental health professional colleges and associations
  • academics and leading experts in the field
  • international experts informing national strategies from the USA, UK, Europe and New Zealand
  • national mental health and child safety initiatives
  • state government mental health departments.