Best Start Resource: Supporting Parents When Parents Experience Mental Health Challenges


The Best Start Resource Centre developed this free ready‐to‐use workshop to meet the needs of service providers who are working with parents experiencing mental health challenges. It can be downloaded from the Best Start Resource Centre website. The workshop provides information and links to other resources, highlights resources service providers can use on a day‐to‐day basis, and provides support through discussion of cases and reflective questions. It would be useful for any service provider or professional working with pregnant women or parents of young children, who may be experiencing mental health challenges.

The goal of this ready‐to‐use workshop is to increase service providers’ competencies when working with parents who are experiencing mental health challenges by providing:

  • Information on mental health challenges and their impact on parenting.
  • Strategies to assist clients experiencing a crisis.
  • Strategies to engage and support clients to assist them to develop and/or maintain positive parenting skills despite their mental health challenges.
  • Strategies to assist clients with behavioural change and goal setting.
  • Links to additional resources for education and support.

The workshop consists of 4 modules suitable for a full-day workshop or four 1.5 hour learning events.

They provide information, links to other resources, highlight resources service providers can use on a day-to-day basis, and provide support through discussion of cases and reflective questions.  Each module contains PowerPoint slides in PDF format, PowerPoint notes in PDF format and Handout in PDF format.

Module 1: Overview: Experiencing Mental Health Challenges While Parenting Young Children

  • Education for Service Providers
  • Mitigating the Impact of Mental Health Challenges on the Family
  • Understanding the Helping Relationship
  • Facilitating Professional Help
  • Helping to Create a Circle of Support for Families
  • Caring for Oneself in a Compassionate Role
  • Resources

Module 2:  Assessing Risk and Managing Crises

  • Key Messages for Service Providers
  • Case Example
  • Assessing the Client
  • Intrusive Thoughts
  • Suicidal Ideation and/or Harm Ideation regarding Children
  • Responding to Clients
  • Creating a Plan for their Safety and Care

Module 3:  Supporting Parenting Skills While Experiencing Mental Health Challenges

  • Mitigating Parents; Mental Health Challenges and their Impact on Children
  • Service Provider-Parent Interaction: Focus on Parent Strengths
  • Aiding Parent-Child Engagement
  • Key Messages to Parents and Service Providers
  • Resources

Module 4:  Supporting Behavioural Change in Parents Using Motivational Interviewing

  • Ambivalence about Change
  • Introduction to Motivational Interviewing
  • A Client’s Stage of Change and the Role of Service Providers
  • Identifying and Supporting Change Talk
  • Summary and Key Messages
  • Resources and References

Click here to access this great resource.