Research Group Village of the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft in cooperation with the Medical University Innsbruck
Children of parents with a mental illness (COPMI) often need additional supports to lead the happy and healthy lives they desire. In some cases though, those supports are either not available or not found by families, resulting in negative long-term outcomes for these children. This four-year research project aims to increase identification and strengthen formal and informal supports around children when their parents have a mental illness. This project will be co-developed with stakeholders and will implement and evaluate two practice approaches, focused on the child and on principles of collaborative care. The project utilizes a realist framework (as well as implementation science principles, and the theory of symbolic interactionism) and mixed-methodologies, and involves numerous data collection methods including: literature reviews, questionnaires, focus groups, interviews, and observations to determine the impact and benefits of providing increased supports for COPMI in Austria.
Interventions to support COPMI in their needs early can significantly change their life course and reduce possible adverse outcomes in their future. It is estimated that one in four children currently lives with a parent with mental illness worldwide and the lifelong impact for some families and their children are substantial. At the moment, there are significant barriers to the early identification of COPMI, particularly within the mental health care system. As a result they remain invisible and their needs may be unmet. Furthermore, there is a lack of collaborative care that might enhance identification as well as offer services and support for COPMI.
The project “The Village” seeks to improve child development and wellbeing outcomes for children of parents with a diagnosed mental illness. This will be achieved through the co-development, implementation and evaluation of an approach to collaborative practice concerned with the identification of COPMI, and with establishing child-focused support networks. This will be done in the Austrian region Tyrol over the period of four years (2018-2022).
The research project aims to directly improve identification and support of vulnerable children across selected regions in Austria, and by doing so, improve the health and wellbeing of future Austrian generations, while breaking the cycle of intergenerational transfer of adverse childhood experiences. The research findings will also be relevant for healthcare providers and policy makers in other countries, and the international research community.
A perfect family? When one parent suffers from a mental disorder, the facade can quickly crumble. The father is sick. Maria often heard this sentence. Don't talk to him, don't contradict him, a survival strategy learned early on, when you're a child, and you notice that other children seem to live much more carefree lives than you do. Maria Fischer tells us what this means and how sport, a healthy attitude and a strong mom gave her strength..
Angelika Pfauser talks about her experiences. Life with bipolar disorder is not exactly easy. When closeness becomes unbearable, self-esteem is at its lowest, you are not perceived as you need to be. And then you have to take responsibility for the children you love so much, for whom you want to do everything right. Having to function and still not always being able to do it. A seemingly hopeless situation. How does it feel?
LBG & host institution
The Steering Committee (SC) consists of one representative each of the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft and the host institution. The Research Group Village Research Group is located at the Medical University of Innsbruck. The host institutions provide the research groups with the necessary infrastructure, support and networks.
The SC meets twice a year and, based on the recommendations of the Advisory Board (AB), agrees to further activities of the LBG Research Group Village and to the course of the Research Program in Mental Health.
1x Open Innovation in Science expert
2x Experts by experience
3x Experts in the field (thereof one PI-Peer)
The Advisory Board (AB) is an independent advisory body that evaluates the LBG Research Group on the basis of its research activities and ensures the (scientific) quality of research projects undertaken. The AB consists of an Open Innovation expert, two experts with lived experience (adolescents and/or young adults), and three experienced experts in the field of mental health (e.g. from the fields of psychology, psychiatry, social sciences, health sciences, etc.). These experts are also experienced in participative research and community involvement in research processes. Of their number, one expert may be a peer of the Principle Investigator. The Research Group & Relationship Manager and Principle Investigator report to the AB based on the following structure:
The AB meets twice a year and reports to the SC on the progress and activities of the LBG Research Group Village.
Research Group &
The Research Group & Relationship Manager (RRM) supports the LBG Research Group Village with implementation of Open Innovation in Science activities, and particularly with community involvement in research activities, networking with cooperation and network partners, capacity building and management tasks (monitoring, reporting, budgeting). Twice each year, the RRM provides the AB with a progress report on relationship management and planned activities.
(Expert by experience)
The Competence Group (CG) is made up of 6 experts by experience (children of parents with a mental illness), who advise and reflect with the Research Group on the planned measures and research activities. The purpose of this is to ensure affected community involvement throughout the research process. The CG meets once a month with the Research Group.
The Principal Investigator (PI) leads the LBG Research Group, consisting of Co-Investigators and a team in Austria; he or she is responsible for coordinating and handling research activities, and for budget and personnel matters. Twice each year, the PI provides the AB with a progress report on the Research Group and planned activities.
The Co-Investigators (CoI) form part of the core team and coordinate work packages as described in the research concept. CoIs remain anchored to their organization abroad and meet with fellow members of the LBG Research Group in Austria twice a year. Virtual conferences and meetings must be arranged in addition.
The team in Austria, consisting of doctoral candidates, students and other specialists, participate in implementation of the research concept and are supervised by the Principle Investigator. The Principal Investigator, the Co-Investigators and the Team together constitute the LBG DOT and Village Research Group.
Cooperation- and Network Partner
The LBG Research Group is embedded in a dynamic network that consists of academic and non-academic Cooperation Partners and Network Partners.
Cooperation Partners are institutions with which separate cooperation agreements are concluded during the term of the Research Group; both financially and through their expertise, they contribute to the research program extended under the cooperation agreements.
Network Partners are institutional application partners (NGOs, patient organizations, etc.) with which separate network partner agreements are concluded during the term of the Research Group; they permit access to patients, relatives, etc., but do not make a financial contribution to the research program.