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Brains feel sick, too. Like my mummy’s brain.
And when mummy’s brain is sick, it can do some strange things..
A visual journey of a mum’s mind through a child’s eyes, MUMMY, IS YOUR BRAIN OKAY gently explains the difficult and unwelcome effects of mental illness.
Mental illness can be quite a difficult concept for a child to grasp - they can’t see inside someone’s head, after all. And with research estimating that 20 per cent of mothers experience postnatal depression -1- and almost a quarter of Australian children have a parent with non-substance mental illness -2-, it’s something we need to be able to talk about with our children. The good news is that research has indicated that children can actually build their resilience when they understand their parent’s mental illness -3-.
MUMMY, IS YOUR BRAIN OKAY was designed to help children understand some things that can happen when their parent has a mental illness, that they can’t necessarily control, from cereal dinners because the groceries were forgotten to hospitalisation. But more importantly, it was written to show that a parent’s mental illness is in no way their child’s fault or responsibility.
In removing the stigma of mental illness by talking about it with our children, we can empower parents to take better care of themselves. And we can remind children they are still very loved, while giving them an understanding of the world around them that they so crave.
1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. 2012. Perinatal depression data from the 2010 Australian National Infant Feeding Survey. Canberra AIHW.
2. Maybery, D., Reupert, A., Patrick, K., Goodyear, M., and Crase, L. 2009. Prevalence of parental mental illness in Australian families. Psychiatric Bulletin, 33-1, 22-26.
3. Beardslee W, Podoresfsky D. 1998. Resilient adolescents whose parents have serious effective and other psychiatric disorders- Importance of self-understanding and relationships.
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Hi, I’m Jess, and I write. I write about different parts of the world because I love documenting it and its cultures. I write short fiction because I like to have a bit of fun and experiment. And I write about my own lived experiences around mental illness, maternal mental health and trauma to open honest dialogues about the hard stuff. Because we’re all in this together.