The project ‘Parents with psychiatric disabilities’ consists of an inventory of needs for support of these parents and the development of a program. After the research, a support program for caregivers of this group is developed. The program is, as a pilot, trained with 9 caregivers who used it for 20 clients.

The inventory research that is done with 47 respondents from different places in the Netherlands and from Belgium gives the outcome that is written in the next part. The respondents are mainly people that receive cure or care from a Mental Health Institution. From this group 25% also lives in the Sheltered living. ouderschap en

Almost all the respondents (94%) say that they have enough help in general. But after this statement follows for half of the group that they want a different kind of help. For example support in relating with the child, support in communicating about the problems with ones child, support in communicating with other parents with psychiatric disabilities, support for the education and legal advice.
In general it seems that more than 80% suffers from barriers caused by psychiatric problems in the relationship with the child.

The literature search and the field research show that a relatively big part of this group lives by themselves. The literature makes it clear that in general one has a low income, especially by not having a paid job.

Most of the parents, that don’t have the responsibility for children, live in a guided or sheltered house. Fulfilment of the parent role is present for only a part. The need for a lot of parents from this group is to have more contact with the children.

The needs that were found in the literature search and partly also in the field research match with the basic needs described by Maslow (1954), that means the physiological needs, safety needs, needs of love, affection and belongingness, needs for esteem and needs for self-actualization.

Besides that there are needs that come from the disturbance: dealing with medication with the symptoms of the disturbance, with discrimination and stigmatization and support by mourning of the lost possibilities.

From the field study it appears that these parents need support around the themes:

  • Giving emotional support and warmth
  • Stimulating the development of the child
  • Listening to the needs of the child
  • Organizing and guiding activities
  • Teaching abilities to the child
  • Supplying for basic needs
  • Making Social contacts
  • Making a balance between parenthood and own needs
  • Improving the communication with the child

Based on these themes respondents express their individual needs to change, that can be the starting point for further coaching. Over 70% want to change in one or more fields. To improve the contact and the communication with children form the central issues.

The program “Parenting with success and satisfaction” is divided in three modules and is trained in a pilot to several caregivers. The use of this program is still in a first stage. The try-out during half a year with these caregivers and their clients is accepted in a positive way.

Ende P.C. van der en M.M. Venderink (2006). Steun voor ouders met psychiatrische beperkingen. Groningen: Lectoraat Rehabilitatie Hanzehogeschool en Cenzor-GGz Groningen