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Wilson, P. (2014). Out of the Mainstream: Helping the Children of Parents with a Mental Illness edited by Rosemary Loshak. Published by Routledge, London, 2013; 248 pp; £25.99 paperback. Brit. J. Psychother., 30(1):126-129.

(2014). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 30(1):126-129

Out of the Mainstream: Helping the Children of Parents with a Mental Illness edited by Rosemary Loshak. Published by Routledge, London, 2013; 248 pp; £25.99 paperback

Review by:
Peter Wilson

This book is a celebration of multi-disciplinary work. It is an account of how a group of professionals worked together from 2002-2011 to serve the interests of children whose parents suffered from mental illness. This took place in east London, an area of severe socio-economic deprivation. Their purpose was to raise public and professional awareness of the plight of these children, in particular: ‘to help practitioners of all disciplines in mental health and children's services, including education, to develop a clearer understanding of each other's role, to recognize in themselves and others the impact of the work on themselves, on their agencies and on their working relationships and to work more collaboratively for the benefit of children’ (p. 10).

This endeavour carried all the energy and spirit of a campaign and the acronym for the Children and Adult Mental Health Project that it developed - CHAMP - was more than apposite. These children needed a champion; all too often their sufferings were out of sight, ‘out of the mainstream’ as the title conveys. The very first chapter is entitled ‘Hidden Children’, highlighting how the public response to their predicament is wary, cautious and fearful of imagined violence. As one such child made clear: there is ‘not a lot of room for us’ (p. 4). People withdraw. Rosemary Loshak writes: ‘What is striking about many of these children's accounts is the absence of other adults who will take responsibility, whether family members or professionals.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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