Are Different Professionals Ready to Support Children of Parents with Mental Illness? Evaluating the Impact of a Pan-European Training Programme

  • Giovanni Viganò
  • Marja Kaunonen
  • Peter Ryan
  • Wendy Simpson
  • Ian Dawson
  • Izabela Tabak
  • Norbert Scherbaum
  • Stefano Zanone Poma


A training package (pre-tested in a pilot phase) about supporting children who have parents with a mental illness and/or with substance misuse (COPMI) was developed and delivered to 131 different professionals from six different European Countries. A questionnaire about importance, awareness and competence on the issue (8 items on knowledge and 15 items on skills) was developed and completed by participants before and after the training. The training was evaluated by participants as generally very successful in terms of improving the importance, awareness and competence of their knowledge and skills, with a statistically significant difference in the pre-/post-analyses (no decreases occurred). Different professional groups performed differently in the pre-training self-rating scores. The participants in some countries were mainly drawn from one professional group (i.e. teachers in Finland, social workers in Germany and psychologists in Poland). It was found that stigma was considered an extremely important concern even before the training, whilst country-specific legal issues were not taken into proper account in the training. Some possibilities for further refinement of the training programme are suggested.


Training COPMI Prevention Professional skills Services 


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Copyright information

© National Council for Behavioral Health 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giovanni Viganò
    • 1
  • Marja Kaunonen
    • 2
  • Peter Ryan
    • 3
  • Wendy Simpson
    • 4
  • Ian Dawson
    • 5
  • Izabela Tabak
    • 6
  • Norbert Scherbaum
    • 7
  • Stefano Zanone Poma
    • 8
  1. 1.Synergia s.r.l. and Department of Decision SciencesUniversità L. BocconiMilanItaly
  2. 2.School of Health SciencesUniversity of TampereTampereFinland
  3. 3.Middlesex UniversityLondonUK
  4. 4.Dundee, Playfield Institute, NHS FifeUniversity of DundeeDundeeScotland
  5. 5.Nordland Hospital TrustBodoNorway
  6. 6.Department of Child and Adolescent HealthInstitute of Mother and ChildWarsawPoland
  7. 7.Department of Addiction Medicine and Addictive Behaviour, LVR-Hospital EssenHospital of the University of Duisburg-EssenDuisburgGermany
  8. 8.Department of Mental Health of the Local Health Authority of RovigoCentro Salute Mentale (ULSS 18)RovigoItaly

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