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Promoting mental health literacy is an effective strategy to protect the wellbeing of parents with mental illness and their children. Mental health literacy is part of health literacy; it is defined as “one’s level of understanding about mental health attitudes and conditions, as well as one’s ability to prevent, recognize, and cope with these conditions” (Jorm et al., 1997 p. 182). Mental health literacy can be developed by mental health providers discussing mental illness, recovery, and coping with parents and family members, including children. Increased mental health literacy leads to engagement in mental health promotion and (for the child) prevention focused activities (Beardslee, Solantaus, Morgan, Gladstone, & Kowalenko, 2013).

A Spanish translation of this publication is available to download under "Additional Files".


Mental health, mental illness, parents with mental illness, children, health literacy, mental health literacy, families, psychoeducation, parental mental illness, Think Family Model, Let’s Talk about Children Program, The Think Family – Whole Family Programme, recovery, prevention, family mental health, Spanish


The authors acknowledge the Parental and Family Mental Health Worldwide group of international researchers and change agents committed to enhancing the lives of families living with parental mental illness where this work began. We especially thank Annick Bosch and Peter van der Ende for their contributions to the mental health literacy survey and systemic literature review.

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Copyright © 2018 Riebschleger et al.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License