Category: X - Other - Not Fitting Better Elsewhere

Symposium

Starting the Conversation: A Peer-Led Disclosure Program for Parents of a Child With Mental Health Problems

Friday, November 17
10:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom E & F, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Stigma | Child | Families
Presentation Type: Symposium

Parents of children with mental health problems (e.g., disruptive behavior disorders; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; depression) have extra parenting challenges. One is that they must make decisions about disclosing their child’s mental health problems – whom to tell, what to say, and how to say it. Parents find that these decisions are frequent, complex, and difficult. In addition, parents often do not have help in making these decisions.  Although help may be available for targeting children’s mental health symptoms, discussion of how to relate these problems to others in the family’s community is virtually absent. Thus, we we collaborated with parents to adapt an adult mental illness disclosure program (Honest, Open, Proud [HOP]) so that it would be appropriate and useful for parents of young children (aged 3-12 years). The resulting program, “Starting the Conversation [STC],” is peer- (parent-) led, about 6 hours long, and can be performed in a variety of formats (e.g., several 1-hour sessions or fewer but longer workshops). The first part of the program targets parents’ self-stigma, along with their fears about themselves and their children as targets of stigma. The ensuing parts allow participants to explore, in a non-judgmental environment, pros and cons of disclosing to different people.  If participants do disclose, the program leads them through thinking about what, when, and how to disclose, to address personal goals (e.g., for support) and parenting goals (e.g., to gain school resources for their child). We are currently testing the program with parents of pre-schoolers and plan to present preliminary data on parents’ self-stigma, disclosure attitudes, and empowerment. Thus, this presentation will describe the participatory action research that led to developing the STC, the content in the STC program, and preliminary pre-post intervention data.

Jeneva Ohan

Sr Lecturer
Tthe University of Western Australia

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