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Welcome to the COMIC (Children of Mentally Ill Consumers) Website
COMIC does not provide a service or organise support groups. Volunteers generously donate their time, therefore, COMIC is unable to respond to each individual email inquiry.
If you are seeking immediate help and someone to talk to please phone:
Kids Helpline
Parent Line
Life Line
1800 551 800
1800 301 300
131 114
In an emergency phone 000 (for an ambulance, fire brigade or police).
New Supporting Our Family Kit
COMIC are pleased to announce the release of the updated Family Support Kit. The kit is in the form of an Adobe Acrobat PDF file. Click the link below to view the kit (it will load in a new window), or if you wish to download it - right-click and select "Save Target As...". Family Support Kit 2008 (508KB)
Child's Care Plan
The Child's Care Plan aims to help parents if they become unwell and are temporarily unable to care for their children. You can view the plan here or download it in form of an Adobe Acrobat PDF file. Right-click here and select "Save Target As..." to download the plan.
About COMIC
COMIC was formed at a forum held on 18 February 2000, and is comprised of a group of adult children who share a common interest for children of mentally ill consumers. The group shares a common perception of the past failure by the mental health services to acknowledge them as children with unique needs and offer support. COMIC also acknowledges that there has been a lack of assistance for ill parents and their families. The group has begun to lobby and advocate for the rights of children of mentally ill consumers and their parents because of the lack of acknowledgement, education and assistance by mental health services.
Some members of COMIC have expertise in relation to children of mentally ill consumers. Members are identifying issues and the means of addressing them. We aim to change the culture surrounding mental illness within both mental health services and the broader community therefore contributing to destigmatisation. COMIC wants to see a higher focus pertaining to children of parents with a mental illness.
 
Mission Statement
 
TO ADVOCATE AND PROMOTE AWARENESS FOR CHILDREN OF MENTALLY ILL CONSUMERS BY:
1. ADVOCACY
Lobbying for Children's Rights working within the guidelines and recommendations:
*   United Nations Convention for Children’s Rights
*   Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission Report (Brian Burdekin (1993) Chapter 16)
*   National Mental Health Strategy (1999) Phase Two
*   Brennan Report (2000)
Children of Parents Affected by a Mental Illness Scoping Report prepared by AICAFMHA - Australian Infant Child Adolescent Family Mental Health Association Inc. (March 2000)
2. EDUCATION
To promote mental illness education as part of the school curriculum.
3. INFORMATION
*   Supporting Our Family Kit
*   COMIC Brochure
*   COMIC Web Site
*   COMIC Corner Resource Library
Presentations
4. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
Acknowledgment of childrens existence because the exact number of children in Australia affected by parental mental illness is not known. Statistics are not collated.
Advocate for the commencement of concurrent child and parent support groups.
Encourage Young Carers Respite Programs.
To ensure that all children of mentally ill consumers receive information, education about mental illness and they are supported so that they do not feel alone and isolated.
To encourage the use of a "Child Care Plan" (which is included in the Supporting Our Family Kit. It is reassuring for children to understand what will happen if their parent needs to spend time in hospital or respite. It is important for children to have an emergency plan at times when their safety is at risk.
To encourage counselling through agencies and other organisation to cushion the trauma that some children may face.
 
Recent Achievements
 
COMIC has also contributed to the development of The Department of Human Services South Australia Draft Policy for Children with Parents or Relatives with a Mental illness.
COMIC believes that a concerted focus on children is timely because of the process of reform occurring within South Australia.
 
Our Challenge to You
 
* How can your organisation contribute to finding solutions to some of the above issues?
* How can you contribute to educating children of parents living with a mental illness?
* How can your organisation help by offering respite and perhaps fun as this may not always be available to children of parents living with a mental illness?
* How can you offer mental health and wellbeing?
These questions are all food for thought.
We at COMIC believe there are many organisations that can offer solutions to the above. Ultimately, we would like to see the services available through a universal hospital and psychiatric computer intake system throughout Australia. We would like to see that once a parent is initially admitted and/or diagnosed that services are automatically made available for their dependant children and a family approach is taken.
We believe that with better interagency communication, education, care and support this can be achieved.
Our goal is to see the family unit supported.
It Can Happen!
 
Issues
Could I Lose My Children?
Some vulnerable parents are afraid of having their children taken away because they are unwell. We're sure this is not the case with parents who have diabetes, heart problems etc. Respite services should be made available.
Inadequate Counselling for Children
There is no counselling in most States and Territories within Australia available to these children on trauma, anger, grief and behavioural management unless they present to a service when the problems have escalated and reach crisis point. COMIC advocates for early intervention, prevention and promotion.
Lack of Funding
This is one of the most neglected areas in mental health funding.
Inadequate Support Services
With deinstitutionalisation there has unfortunately been a lack of support and services for parents and that this effects the children too!
Communities Lack Understanding
The Stigma of mental illness has a huge effect on these children.
 
The management of COMIC has been officially handed over to the COMIC Australia Foundation Committee. Contact: The Secretary P O Box 310 MARLESTON ADELAIDE SOUTH AUSTRALIA 5033
Contact Email address:      comicadmin@adam.com.au