Parental Mental Illness SIG

The Parental Mental Illness SIG (Special Interest Group) addresses the major gap in awareness and understanding across professionals/practitioners providing a platform to learn and share knowledge, skills and research/evaluation findings, to develop and deliver evidence-based practice and work collaboratively on service development.

  • Meet the branch

    Dympna Cunnane

    I am the CEO of the charity Our Time. Our Time helps young people dealing with parental mental illness. We make sure they get the support they need and have their voices heard. I have a BA (University College Dublin) in Psychology and Philosophy, an MA in Psychology (Tavistock Institute London) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Systems Thinking, as well as professional training in psychoanalysis (Jungian). I have worked as an organisation development specialist in large organisations, with over twenty years’ experience of working as a consultant to top level executives in international, public and private sector companies. I am interested in mental well-being in its broadest sense, having trained and worked in therapeutic settings as well as applying her knowledge to the world of work and workplaces. I believe that the mind is our most powerful resource, and as such, determines much of our life experience. Please contact me via and follow on Twitter @ourtimecharity

  • Research

    Recent research indicates that over 2 million children are affected by parental mental illness. This is 20% of the school population, or 6 in every classroom. 70% of these children will show signs of mental health problems by age 20, yet this group is not recognised in the UK and there is no statutory provision to support their wellbeing. Everyone knows someone in this situation yet they are hidden and neglected.

    We know from wide-ranging consultation, service development delivery and evaluation, that relatively modest support measures make a significant difference to children and young people affected by parental mental illness, substantially increasing resilience and the ability to self-protect. Even small interventions, such as an explanation of a parent’s illness and peer support, can significantly improve the health and wellbeing of the child or young person living with a parent or carer with mental health problems.