Adult mental health: Implications for dependent children’

Ms Lisa Hebel1

1 Senior Social Work Advisor, NorthWestern Mental Health

In 2015 a clinical data mining (CDM) project was carried out with 25 files of clients who were parents, randomly selected from 4 adult mental health services (100 in total). Each registered client of the adult mental health service was listed and randomly selected to see if the client had dependent children. This was done in each service separately until 25 clients with dependent children was reached.
The 26 question quantitative CDM tool focused on demographics, psychosocial needs as well as formal and informal supports.
Of those 25 files from each service, 10 were randomly selected (40 in total) for a more in-depth review, answering 10 specifically designed qualitative questions investigating the documented identification, assessment and interventions of the needs of the dependent children of registered clients. The selection of the 10 files was randomly generated and each file that was randomly selected was used.
Themes of social isolation, limited formal and informal social supports, poverty, violence and trauma were found. The impact on the clients’ ability to parent and have potential to cause direct or indirect harm to the children will be described.
Systemic responses to these situations and the children involved will also be briefly addressed.