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HealthInfo Canterbury

Children of parents with a mental illness or addiction

Growing up with a parent who has a mental illness or addiction can be confusing. Sometimes it can be embarrassing. It can feel like no one understands what your life is like and there is no one you can talk to about it. But there are people and organisations that can help you. If you, or a child you know, needs help to cope with a family affected by mental illness or addiction, you can contact these organisations, or ask your GP to refer you.

Mental illness

Caroline Reid Family Support Service (Stepping Stone Trust)

For children this offers one-to-one support, peer support, activities, camps, as well as support for parents. It has a special group called Children Understanding Mental Illness. This helps kids make sense of living with a parent who is mentally unwell, while enjoying fun activities with children of a similar age. This leaflet gives more details. Ask your GP to refer you to this service.

Phone: (03) 338‑6390


Website: (scroll to the bottom of the page)

Stand Children Services (Tū Māia Whānau)

Stand is a service for children that offers home- and school-based social services, therapy , education, and even the chance to have a few adventures. Ask your GP, teacher, or social worker to refer you to this service. It also offers KidzaCool Adventures holiday programmes for children in foster care, or being cared for by someone other than their parents.

Phone: (03) 332‑2541



Yellow Brick Road

Yellow Brick Road provides free support for whānau/families and those close to people with a mental illness. It also has a Children Understanding Mental Illness group, which helps kids make sense of living with a parent who is mentally unwell. This leaflet has information to help children understand mental illness.

Phone: (03) 366‑9284 or 0800‑876‑682


Familial Trust

Familial Trust is specially for children who have a parent with an addiction. It offers one-on-one support, counsellors, group activities, and education programmes. This leaflet gives more details.

Phone: (03) 981‑1093



Having a break (respite care)


Cholmondeley gives kids aged 5 to 12 years the opportunity to have a breather from their families when things get really hard. It provides a safe, fun place to stay while everyone has a break.

Phone: (03) 329‑9832



Kaupapa Māori

Purapura Whetu Trust

Purapura Whetu Trust takes a uniquely Māori perspective in working with people affected by mental illness. Some of its services are just for tamariki.

Phone: (03) 379‑8001




  HealthInfo recommends the following pages

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created April 2015.

See also:

Reading in Mind book scheme

Page reference: 162716

Review key: HICOP-162716