Intervention programs for children whose parents have a mental illness: a review Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:To identify and describe intervention programs to improve outcomes for children whose parents have a mental illness. DATA SOURCES:Grey and black literature was sourced from (i) three previous reviews/scoping studies, (ii) PsycINFO and MEDLINE searches of English, German and Dutch papers, and (iii) in consultation with researchers, clinicians, consumers and carers in the field. STUDY SELECTION:Only programs specifically targeting children whose parent/s have a mental illness. No restrictions were placed on study quality. DATA EXTRACTION:Program description, target group and evidence base. DATA SYNTHESIS:Programs from Australia, Europe and North America were found and collated into (i) family interventions, (ii) peer-support programs, (iii) online interventions and (iv) bibliotherapy. Some programs had been evaluated, with promising results. Others had minimal or no evaluation. CONCLUSIONS:The core component across programs is the provision of psychosocial education to children about mental illness. More rigorous research is required to establish the conditions through which children's outcomes are enhanced.


  • Reupert, Andrea E
  • Cuff, Rose
  • Drost, Louisa
  • Foster, Kim
  • van Doesum, Karin TM
  • van Santvoort, Floor

publication date

  • April 16, 2012