Family Matters: Interfaces between Child and Adult Mental Health

Family Matters: Interfaces between Child and Adult Mental Health

Family Matters: Interfaces between Child and Adult Mental Health

Family Matters: Interfaces between Child and Adult Mental Health


Family Matters focuses on research and clinical material which bridges the traditional gap between child and adult mental health. Rather than considering child and adult problems separately, the authors address the often complex interactions between the two, covering such topics as: ¿¿ The implications of childhood trauma in later life ¿¿ The impact of parental mental health problems on children ¿¿ How interactions within a family can affect the mental health of all individuals within the family The authors review existing research and cover their own recent studies and practical experience, and put forward new theoretical models to underpin their recommendations for changes in practice, such as liason initiatives between child and adult services and specialised services to treat adolescents, parenting breakdown and perinatal psychiatric illness.The findings and recommendations in Family Matters have have important implications for the organsiation and funding of mental health and related services, and staff training, and should be read by all those in professions concerned with child and adult mental health, including psychiatrists, family therapists, psychotherapists, nurses, health visitors and social workers, and health service managers.


The idea for this book originated in a conference held in London in May 1998, called 'Interfaces between Child and Adult Mental Health'. the conference aroused considerable interest, not only from participating mental health practitioners and academics but also from social workers, health visitors, managers and purchasers. An obvious development was to produce a book based on the proceedings, with additional chapters to cover topics that could not be represented on the day. the resulting volume has a clinical emphasis, although the authors have based their discussions on theoretical arguments, literature reviews and, in some cases, research projects. the book's aims are to acknowledge the mutual interaction between children and parents, to recognise the various ways that children's and adults' problems overlap and to consider the implications for service delivery.

The interfaces between children and adults have many dimensions and can be considered from the perspective of individual development, intergenerational influences over time, family relationship patterns, or mechanisms through which these processes interact together. Similarly, discussions about the interfaces between child and adult services might focus on liaison between teams to identify previously unrecognised problems in other family members, work with whole families, or preventive measures against intergenerational continuities of disorders. All these dimensions are represented in this volume.

The chapters have been divided into five sections. Section 1 is an introductory overview. Section 2 considers developmental and intergenerational links between children and adults. Section 3 addresses the effects of parental mental health problems on children. Section 4 contains discussions of the various ways that clinical services can address the interfaces between children's and adults' mental health. Section 5 offers theoretical and practical suggestions for future developments. This division is not a strict one, however, since most authors consider both the theoretical and practical aspects of their topic.

It is necessary also to acknowledge what the book does not include. We have intended the chapters to have a psycho-social emphasis and to cover those aspects of the interfaces that do not customarily receive much attention in the literature. We did not set out to compile a comprehensive textbook

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