AIHTA - Publications - Search - Supporting children who have parents with mental disorders in Tyrol: A mapping of existing Tyrolean support and societal structures

Zechmeister-Koss , I. and Goodyear, M. (2018): Supporting children who have parents with mental disorders in Tyrol: A mapping of existing Tyrolean support and societal structures. HTA-Projektbericht 113a.

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Background and aim: A four-year research project aims at improving the situation of children who have mentally ill parents (COPMI) in Tyrol. For developing practice approaches to better identify and support these children and their parents, we need an in-depth understanding of the regional Tyrolean characteristics in terms of existing support structures and the societal context they are embedded in.

Method: The report aims at providing an overview of the Tyrolean socioeconomic and demographic situation (context information) as well as a mapping on existing in-kind and cash benefits (financial support) that may play a role in identifying and supporting COPMIs and their families. The description of available benefits and the context information are based on secondary literature (national and regional statistics, planning documents, annual reports from service providers etc.).

Results: The Tyrol is an Austrian region in the Western part of Austria. From roughly 750,000 inhabitants, around 140,000 persons (19%) are dependent children (0-18 years). The vast majority of them lives in dual-parent families. Catholic religion plays an important role in Tyrol. 85% of Tyroleans are Austrian citizens. 50% of the population is actively working in paid employment, the remainder is either retired (20%), in education or in other forms of activity (parental leave, household leading only, military service). We identified a broad variety of benefits that may be utilised to identify and support COPMIs and their families. However, only one of the existing services (available in two districts) directly targets COPMIs. In terms of setting, a vast majority of services is office based and a much smaller proportion of providers offer outreach services (e.g. in families' homes). The available services are characterised by a high proportion of public funding. However, access to publicly funded services may be restricted via gate-keeping (e.g. referrals from child and youth service) or shortages of capacities (e.g. psychotherapy, child care). More (types of) services are available in urban than in rural regions. Services are characterised by high fragmentation in terms of governance (federal, regional, municipality), financing (taxes: federal, regional; social insurance) and service provision (public and private providers).

Discussion and Conclusions:
The demographic and socioeconomic parameters suggest that Tyrol is a conservative region in terms of family structures and education/employment characteristics, indicating that the informal sector plays an important role. This implies that informal resources for supporting COPMIs and their families may be utilised in addition to the formal support structures.
The broad variety of potentially relevant services and their different funding and legal arrangements will create considerable challenges for coordinating and organising individualised support that is based on the children's and parents' needs. However, the mapping also demonstrates that there is a large potential of professional resources available that may be utilised first before new services or programmes are introduced. Limiting factors will be access restrictions and geographical variations for several services. In addition, cash benefits and a number of interesting activities within the voluntary sector (e.g. self-help groups) have been identified as a potential resource. The main limitation of this literature-based report is that the information on existing support structures may be incomplete and not always up to date.
In conclusion, the existing infrastructure as well as the societal structures constitute a rich pool of resources on which the support concepts that are to be developed can draw on. The challenge will be to decide which of the numerous settings will be most appropriate and feasible for identifying COPMIs, and how to coordinate the support of COPMIs hereafter in the context of a research project.

Item Type:Project Report
Keywords:Mental illness, children, service provision, cash benefits, in-kind benefits
Subjects:WA Public health > WA 525-590 Health administration and organisation
WA Public health > WA 308 Family health
WM Psychiatry > WM 140 Mental disorders
Series Name:HTA-Projektbericht 113a
Deposited on:08 Nov 2018 15:43
Last Modified:15 Jul 2020 17:58

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