Advances in Mental Health, Vol 12, No 2 (2014)

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Empowering families where a parent has a mental illness: A preliminary evaluation of the “Family Focus” DVD

Natasha Marston


Family focussed interventions may empower all family members and the unit as a whole. This study examined the utility and impact of a new family-led resource for when one or more parent has an affective disorder. The “Family Focus” approach including an instructional DVD holds potential to affect knowledge, beliefs and behaviours that can moderate the risk of affective disorder for family members. 49 parents from across Australia watched the “Family Focus” DVD and completed questionnaires pre and post viewing. A subsample of 15 took part in qualitative interviews regarding their experience. Quantitative results indicate the DVD changes attitudes such as awareness of the impact of mental illness, and behaviours including help seeking and communication. Qualitative findings indicate that when parents are supported to refocus upon the effects of mental illness on all family members, they value the opportunity to discuss this issue with their family, and work towards a shared understanding. The "Family Focus" DVD appears to offer promise as an additional intervention available for vulnerable families to deliver and utilise in a manner congruent with their unique family context.

Advances in Mental Health

ISSN 1837-4905
©2014 eContent Management