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There is substantial evidence supporting the need for effective intervention for children and families living with parental mental illness. However, translation of this knowledge into mental health workforce practice remains variable, with a range of clinical practices and models of care evident. Nurses, who constitute the majority of the mental health workforce, are in prime positions to support children and families and provide preventative measures, identify those at risk, and intervene early. In this paper, we provide a framework for practice for nurses working with consumer parents. We contend that traditional models of nursing practice concentrating on the consumer are insufficient in meeting the needs of children and families living with parental mental illness. A focus on families needs to be core business for mental health nurses. A family-focused approach can be used to prevent problems for children and their families, and identify their strengths as well as vulnerabilities. Family-focused care is a useful framework from which to support families and address the challenges that might arise from parental mental illness, and to build individual and family resilience.

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Journal Article

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