Parents with severe mental illness. Epidemiological data
background It is becoming increasingly clear that people with severe mental illness (smi) are in need of support with parenting. So far, however, little is known about how many persons fall into this category.
aim To estimate how many smi patients aged 18 to 65 are parents with children and how many need help with parenting.
method We based our estimate on epidemiological studies and on official records and data relating to smi patients for the year 2009.
results We estimated that 48% of patients with smi had children. The total number of such patients for the year 2009 was 68,000; this figure represents 0.9% of the Dutch population in the 18-64 age-group.
conclusion Health professionals and carers need to be alerted to the fact that almost 50%of the patients with smi require possibly help in fulfilling their parental role. Potential problems in the parent-child relationship need to be registered in greater details so that more adequate care can be provided both at individual level and national level.