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Families Where a Parent Has a Mental Illness- Understanding Family Resilience

Dr. Melinda Goodyear will be outlining her research into understanding family resilience for families where a parent has a mental illness. The talk will begin by describing the prevalence of parents with a mental illness, and will highlight a shift of focus in the research field from understanding the risks for children to now exploring the benefits of early intervention and focusing on building resilience in children. A more recent shift in her research field has also seen a focus on exploring what's known as family recovery and addressing support for the whole family where there is mental illness. Her more recent focus has been on exploring family resilience for families where a parent has a mental illness. She will describe some of the stories from adults who have grown up in a household where a parent had a mental illness, and in particular, parents who were diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She will also describe, from the perspective of clinicians, what may hinder and promote family recovery and suggest some strategies for service providers. Finally, she will describe a brief parent recovery intervention that we are trialling in Australia as part of a large randomised control trial that aims to equip parents with the confidence and skills to support their family, with the support of the mental health provider.

Dr Melinda Goodyear has been working as a researcher in the area of Families where a Parent has a Mental Illness since 2003. Melinda has a background in Psychology, and recently completed her PhD in Neuroscience. Melinda is currently a Research Fellow at Monash University working on a randomized control trial of the parent intervention 'Let's Talk About Children' for mental health services. She is also an adjunct researcher at the Bouverie Centre, La Trobe University, working on workforce development projects that promote well-being in vulnerable families.