The end of May saw the media highlighting the issue of mental health and in particular, recognising the 2.6 million people caring for someone with a mental illness who receive little or no support. This was as a result of the release of a study conducted by the Hunter Institute of Mental Health. The Partners in Depression Program, patroned by Lucy Brogden, found 15% of the people in the program caring for parents with depression were children. The release of this study highlighted the amount of young carers in our community particularly those dealing with a parent with a mental illness.
The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), alarmed by the findings published a story on Tuesday May 28 including an exclusive interview with Kookaburra Kid Rose Cox and CEO Pam Brown. Both Rose and Pam reiterated the number of children caring for a parent with a mental health issue and how programs such as Kookaburra Kids acted as great support and respite for these young carers. Additionally Dr Nick Kowalenko, psychiatrist, presented data at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists congress on Monday May 27 that “Programs that help children understand that their parent’s symptoms are not their fault, and provide activities outside the family and strong support networks, can cut a child’s risk of mental illness by 40 per cent”.
We thank Lucy Brogden for her ongoing dedication to highlighting mental illness in our community and the support that is required not only for the patient but also for the children and family as a whole. Lucy’s husband John Brogden is Kookaburra Kids patron and we are very proud to have them as partners in our cause.