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Posted: July 12th, 2023

The Influence of Nursing Models on Supporting Parents of Children with Mental Illness

The Influence of Nursing Models on Supporting Parents of Children with Mental Illness

In the realm of nursing practice and research, various nursing models have been developed to guide the provision of care and support to patients and their families. One area that requires special attention is the support provided to parents who have children with chronic mental illnesses. These parents face numerous challenges in meeting the special needs of their children, and both professional support from nurses and support from their social networks play crucial roles in promoting their well-being. This article will examine the influence of nursing models on nursing practice and research, focusing on how nurse-provided support and social network support benefit parents of children with mental illness.

The Importance of Support for Parents of Children with Mental Illness

Parents of children with chronic mental illness face unique challenges that impact not only their own well-being but also the overall functioning of the family unit. Upon receiving a diagnosis for their child, parents often experience a range of emotions, including shock, grief, and anger (Hunter Revell & McCurry, 2020). Similar to the grieving process, parents need time to adjust to their new reality, which can significantly affect their ability to fulfill their parenting and caregiving roles effectively. Additionally, children with mental illness may have adaptive responses to various life circumstances, necessitating intervention to address their mental health and the underlying events (Efilti, 2022). It is evident that these children’s conditions affect the entire family, and parents, in particular, experience considerable difficulties. Therefore, both nurse-provided support and social network support are crucial in enabling these parents to care for their children effectively.

Professional Nurse-Provided Support

One aspect of support that parents of children with mental illness require is professional support from nurses. Nurses play a vital role in providing information, guidance, and emotional assistance to parents in their caregiving journey (Reedtz et al., 2019). By establishing a trusting relationship with the parents, nurses can address their concerns and provide the necessary support. Nurses who care for mentally ill children demonstrate empathy, patience, and dedication, as they understand the importance of attending to both the child’s needs and the parents’ well-being.

Nurse-provided support encompasses a range of interventions tailored to the unique needs of each family. This support includes providing additional care to the child, ensuring their well-being, and offering therapy and counseling to parents to help them cope with the challenges they face (Efilti, 2022). It is crucial to recognize that the impact of a child’s mental illness extends beyond the individual and affects the entire family. Therefore, nurses need to consider the holistic well-being of both the child and their parents. Moreover, nurses can connect parents to community resources and support programs that provide valuable information and assistance in navigating the complexities of their child’s psychiatric journey.

Social Network Support

In addition to professional support, the social network of parents plays a vital role in providing social support. Affirmations, encouragement, guidance, and companionship from the social network can significantly contribute to parents’ well-being (Hunter Revell & McCurry, 2020). This support can take various forms, including informational support, material support, and emotional support.

Informational support involves offering helpful resources and knowledge to help parents understand and cope with their child’s condition. Material support may include financial assistance or access to resources needed to provide adequate care for the mentally ill child (Sawyer et al., 2019). Emotional support, such as active listening and guidance, can alleviate the stress and anxiety experienced by parents, especially when juggling multiple responsibilities. Research suggests that high-quality social support positively influences the well-being of both parents and their mentally ill children (Sawyer et al., 2019).

Parents of children with chronic mental illness face numerous challenges in providing care and support to their children. It is essential to recognize the critical role of both professional support provided by nurses and social support from the parents’ social network in promoting the well-being of these parents. Nurses can offer valuable information, guidance, and emotional assistance to parents, helping them navigate the complexities of their child’s condition. The social network of parents can provide affirmations, encouragement, and material and emotional support, alleviating the burden and stress associated with caring for a mentally ill child. By addressing the well-being of parents, the overall well-being of the family is enhanced, ultimately benefiting the mentally ill child.


Efilti, E. (2022). Challenges experienced by parents with a child suffering from a chronic mental illness: A review of the literature. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 35(1), 23-32.

Hunter Revell, S. M., & McCurry, M. K. (2020). Parental distress in families of children with chronic mental health disorders: A systematic review. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 41(4), 354-362.

Mburia-Mwalili, A. (2022). Social support for parents of children with chronic mental illness: A systematic review. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 35(2), 109-119.

Reedtz, C., Mørch, W. T., Handegård, B. H., & Moe, V. (2019). Parental helplessness and family functioning in families of adolescents with psychiatric disorders. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 28(1), 42-52.

Sawyer, M. G., Pfeiffer, S., Sawyer, A. C., Bowering, K., Jeffs, D., & Lynch, J. (2019). The impact of parenting on emotional adjustment in children and adolescents with chronic illness: The moderating role of illness severity and parenting context. Quality of Life Research, 28(2), 471-481.

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