Let's Talk About Children

Developing an Australian-first recovery model for parents in Victorian mental health and family services

Professor Darryl Maybery and his team of researchers and agencies have been awarded $1,855,891 funded by the Mental Illness Research Fund to continue research in support services for parents with a mental illness.

The four year project aims to develop and rigorously trial a model of recovery for adults, who are also parents, with major mental health problems. Building on an evidence-based approach from Finland called "Lets Talk about Children", this project aims to develop a recovery-based model specifically designed for parents with mental health problems.

Dr Mel Goodyear and program participant, Sian, discussed Let's Talk About Children on 3CR in June 2016, and Sian gave some firsthand insight. You can listen to the program here: 3CR podcast

MIRF project aims

The research has four objectives:

  • Adapt the evidence informed parent intervention (Let’s Talk) for Victorian adult, PDRSS and family sectors in order to optimise parent recovery and minimise disability.
  • Establish an evidence base for a recovery model that effectively addresses parenting, as measured by adult recovery (e.g. quality of life, hope, social inclusion), parenting competence and self-efficacy, family functioning and child outcomes including child quality of life and wellbeing.
  • Determine and address implementation issues necessary to implement the parent recovery model in AMHS, PDRSS and family sectors, thereby improving our understanding of how to sustainably integrate evidence based practices in complex service environments.
  • Determine the economic value and cost-effectiveness of a larger roll out (longer term) of the parent recovery model for investment by Victorian and Australian governments.

Team of researchers with Darryl Maybery holding an award certificate

The project team at the announcement of the grant

Project phases

A pilot study has been completed with mental health workers and parents. Through this process, changes were made to Let's Talk about Children so that it better suits the Victorian setting and poplulation.

Let's Talk About Children is currently being delivered and evaluated with 11 services across Victoria, from the sectors of adult mental health, family services and mental health community support services (MHCSS). The number of services will be expanded in future phases of the project.

The current study and future phases will evaluate the use of Let's Talk About Children in Victoria by:

  • randomised control trials
  • a cost analysis
  • examining parent experiences of Let's Talk About Children
  • examining mental health care worker experiences of Let's Talk About Children and implementation factors

Partner organisations

Participating agencies