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25th European Congress of Psychiatry / European Psychiatry 41S (2017) S8–S52

Symposium: Children of parents with mental

disorders: needs assessment and model



The needs of children who have

parents suffering from severe mental


G. De Girolamo

1 ,

, G. Signorini


, V. Candini



Saint John of god clinical research center, psychiatric epidemiology

and evaluation unit, Brescia, Italy


IRCCS St John of God clinical research centre, UOPEV, Brescia, Italy

Corresponding author.



Mental illness in parents is a biological and environ-

mental risk factor to which young people are exposed. Living with

a parent suffering from a mental disorder may have a variety of

detrimental consequences, including: (a) the reversal of caregiving

(“parentification”); (b) the exposure to an adverse environment,

where developmental needs of the child (emotional and practi-

cal) might be repeatedly neglected (lack of communication, high

expressed emotion, etc.); (c) stigma and discrimination. We will

provide a review of needs of these children and of possible inter-



Systematic searches located studies reporting and

assessing met and unmet needs of these children.


Young people living in such families often have prob-

lems of internalizing and externalizing symptoms, cognitions of

shame, guilt, and loneliness, perceptions of lacking social support

and social acceptance. Children who have mentally ill parents are

up to two and a half times more likely to experience poorer men-

tal health outcomes than their peers. Compared to peers, children

of parents with mental disorders are also at risk of poorer intel-

lectual and social outcomes, of affect dysregulation, of behavioral

problems, of impaired attention and reduced overall adaptive func-

tioning, of higher rates of substance abuse and multiple diagnosis

and finally of low occupational status, health risk behaviour and

antisocial behavior.


Given the high toll paid by children having parents

suffering from severe mental disorders, it is urgent to develop, test

and implement structured programmes to help these children cope

with stressful circumstances and improve their resilience.

Disclosure of interest

The authors have not supplied their decla-

ration of competing interest.


Identifying and supporting children of

mentally ill parents within adult

mental health services

C. Reedtz

Regional centre for child and youth mental health and child welfare,

the faculty of health science- UiT The Arctic university of Norway,

Tromso, Norway


Studies have shown that implementing a change

of practice in adult mental health care to identify and support

children of mentally ill parents is challenging, even though the

risk of transgenerational transmission of socioemotional problems

and psychopathology has been thoroughly demonstrated the last



The current presentation describes the existing practice of

identifying and supporting children of mentally ill parents within

adult mental health services. The study was conducted after Nor-

wegian health legislation had been changed to make these tasks

mandatory. The effort included implementation of two interven-

tions; Family Assessment, an intervention for practitioners to

increase identification of patients who are also parents and their

children, and child talks, an intervention designed to provide sup-

port for parents and children within the participating hospital.


The sample included mental health professionals in a

large university hospital in Northern Norway, who responded to

a web-based survey on the routines of the services, attitudes

within the workforce capacity, worker’s knowledge on the impact

of parental mental illness on children, knowledge on legislation

concerning children of patients, and demographic variables. Regis-

ter data from the Electronic Patient Journals (EPJ) was analyzed to

assess whether or not the self-reported routines match the reality

in the clinic.


The prospects of clinical change will be discussed in

general, as well as to which extent the two implemented interven-

tions have contributed to changes in the clinical practice, workforce

knowledge and attitudes in the participating hospital.

Disclosure of interest

The author has not supplied his declaration

of competing interest.


Dutch intervention programmes for

children of mentally ill parents

T. Van Amelsvoort

Department of psychiatry and psychology, Maastricht university, The


This presentation reports on the outcomes of a practice-based and

science-based enterprise in the Netherlands to develop a com-

prehensive national prevention program focused on children of

parents with a mental illness. An outline of the multicomponent

program is presented which includes a wide set of interventions

that address evidence-based risk factors and protective factors

in multiple domains, including children in different age groups,

parents and families, social networks, professionals and the com-

munity as a whole.

The 20-year history of this program illustrates the importance of

long-term collaborative investments that are required of practi-

tioners, policymakers and scientists to develop and implement a

nationwide, comprehensive approach for addressing the preva-

lent transmission of psychiatric problems from parent to child. The

results of recently undertaken controlled efficacy studies of various

preventive interventions are presented, as well as findings from

process evaluations. Also, strengths and weaknesses of the current

program are discussed and recommendations will be offered for

the main challenges ahead in terms of program innovation, imple-

mentation and research.

Disclosure of interest

The author has not supplied his declaration

of competing interest.


Toward the development of new

strategies to assess the needs of

children and adolescents with

severely mentally ill parents

K. Abel

University of Manchester- UK, centre for women’s mental health-

institute of brain behaviour and mental health- Manchester,

Manchester, United Kingdom

Up to 10% of mothers and 5% of fathers in Europe have mental

illness. Family, educational and social lives of children and ado-

lescents with parental with mental illness (CAPRI) are disrupted

by deprivation & repeated hospitalization. This is an urgent politi-