Children of mentally ill parents

projects and initiatives to improve support and care for children of mentally ill parents


Risk Group, Mental Disorders, Prevention, Health Promotion, Care Service, Development of Children and Adolescents

Project Management

Cooperation Partners

Nationales Zentrum Frühe Hilfen, NZFH

Bezirkskrankenhaus Augsburg, Klinik für Psychiatrie, Psychotherapie und Psychosomatik


Bis 02.01.2018

Background & Aim of the Project

Children and adolescents who grow up in families with mental disorders are a particularly disadvantaged high-risk group. Research has shown that they have a significantly higher probability of developing a similar disorder. In addition, due to the risks of inadequate health care, it is necessary to make a specific effort in regard to health promotion. The accumulation and interaction of problems, such as a frequently low socio-economic status or growing up with a single parent, increases the risks. Structural problems in the interfaces between the fields of medicine and social systems also make interdisciplinary prevention and care for families more difficult.
The aim of the overall project is to assess the interdisciplinary support and care offered for children of mentally ill parents. Based on this, recommendations for optimizing the supply will be made.

Description of the Project

The project is divided into three parts:
A symposium and a parliamentary evening will inform the expert audience and policy makers about the results of current research and discuss recommendations.
Using a literature search, evidence-based prevention and health promotion concepts will be identified and the effectiveness of interventions for children from families with mental disorders will be identified.
In two municipalities, the stress situation of the children and their hospitalized parents will be recorded over a period of six months and support offers and services are documented and compared with indications and services that would be appropriate according to systematic and external, objective diagnostics.
Based on this, recommendations will be made for individual and interdisciplinary support and care, prevention and health promotion of children of mentally ill parents.

Publications and created materials

  • Kölch, M., Ziegenhain, U. & Fegert, J. (2014). Kinder psychisch kranker Eltern – Herausforderungen für eine interdisziplinäre Kooperation in Betreuung und Versorgung. Weinheim: Beltz Juventa.
  • Kölch, M. & Ziegenhain, U. (2015). Bessere Versorgung für Kinder von psychisch kranken Eltern – Frühe Hilfen, Familienpsychiatrie und -psychotherapie als interdisziplinäre Aufgabe. Nervenheilkunde, 34(01/02), 49-54.
  • Pillhofer, M., Ziegenhain, U., Fegert, J.M. Hoffmann, T. & Paul, M. (2016). Kinder von Eltern mit psychischen Erkrankungen im Kontext Früher Hilfen. Eckpunktepapier. Köln: Nationales Zentrum Frühe Hilfen.

Contact Address

Profilbild von Prof. Dr. phil. Ute Ziegenhain

Prof. Dr. phil. Ute Ziegenhain

Profilbild von Prof. Dr. med. Michael Kölch

Prof. Dr. med. Michael Kölch

Funded by

Horst and Ingrid Frank Foundation