About this event

  • Date and time Fri 13 Dec 2019 from 9:00am to 4:30pm
  • Location Royal Society of Medicine
  • Organised by Psychiatry, The Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Our Time

This event will highlight the impact of parental mental illness on children and young people and how to interrupt the intergenerational cycle of mental illness in families.

Experts will examine and analyse what is already known about the effects of parental mental illness by referring to scientific studies, and personal presentations by young people with lived experience about the impact of a parent’s mental illness on a child’s development.

The main focus of the meeting will directly correlate to the effects of parental mental illness on a child’s brain development, cognitive function, emotional life and relationship development.

To conclude the event there will be a discussion surrounding the interventions available to break the intergenerational negative cycle.

Topics include: 

  • Development of a shared understanding among adult and children’s services about the impact of parental mental illness on children.
  • How professionals can work together to better support affected families and their children.
  • Review the scientific evidence in order to understand the risks and resilience factors.
  • Learn about interventions which can improve the resilience of children, and greater confidence in the parents to parent their children.

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Key speakers

Sir Michael Marmott

Professor Sir Michael Marmot

Professor of Epidemiology at University College London, Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity, and Past President of the World Medical Association.

Speaker's biography

Professor Sir Michael Marmot is the author of The Health Gap: the challenge of an unequal world (Bloomsbury: 2015) and Status Syndrome: how your place on the social gradient directly affects your health (Bloomsbury: 2004).  Professor Marmot holds the Harvard Lown Professorship for 2014-2017 and is the recipient of the Prince Mahidol Award for Public Health 2015. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from 18 universities.


Professor Marmot has led research groups on health inequalities for over 40 years. He chairs the Commission on Equity and Health Inequalities in the Americas, set up in 2015 by the World Health Organizations’ Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO/ WHO).  He was Chair of the Commission on Social Determinants of Health (CSDH), which was set up by the World Health Organization in 2005, and produced the report entitled: Closing the Gap in a Generation in August 2008.


At the request of the British Government, he conducted the Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post-2010, which published its report 'Fair Society, Healthy Lives' in February 2010. This was followed by the European Review of Social Determinants of Health and the Health Divide, for WHO Euro in 2014.  He chaired the Breast Screening Review for the NHS National Cancer Action Team and was a member of The Lancet-University of Oslo Commission on Global Governance for Health. He set up and led a number of longitudinal cohort studies on the social gradient in health in the UCL Department of Epidemiology & Public Health (where he was head of the department for 25 years): the Whitehall II Studies of British Civil Servants, investigating explanations for the striking inverse social gradient in morbidity and mortality; the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), and several international research efforts on the social determinants of health.


Professor Marmot served as President of the British Medical Association (BMA) in 2010-2011 and is President of the British Lung Foundation. He is an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology; a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences; an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy, and an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians. He is also a trustee of the Food Foundation, was a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution for six years, and in 2000 was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen, for services to epidemiology and the understanding of health inequalities. Professor Marmot is also a Member of the National Academy of Medicine.


View the programme

Registration, tea and coffee
Welcome and introduction

Dympna Cunnane, CEO, Our Time
Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones OBE, Psychiatry Section, Royal Society of Medicine

Voices from the street

Drama piece to illustrate the topic from the family and children's perspective

Keynote address: Early childhood and future lives

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Director, Institute of Health Equity, University College London

Tea and coffee break

Discussion and networking

What is the impact of a parent's mental illness on the children?

Dr Alan Cooklin, Founder, Our Time

The child's perspective - What can be done to support the children and family?

What are the major impacts of parental mental illness and what made a positive difference?

Ms Kirsty Tahta-Wraith, Assistant Psychologist and Ms Chineye Njoku, Advanced Therapist, Expert by Experience

Voices from the street
Children as next of kin - A Norwegian case study

How can patients' children and siblings receive the care and follow up they need?

Siri Gjesdahl, Barnes Beste, Norwegian National Competence Network for Children as Next of Kin

Think family - A systemic approach to supporting parents and children

Ms. Chris McCree, Parental Mental Health Lead, Centre for Parent and Child Support, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Tea and coffee break
Voices from the street
Supporting Families Programme in Leicestershire

Think Family - Whole Family Programme: Improving the outcome for families affected by parental mental illness

Dr Lina Gatsou, Professor in Family Mental Health, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust and DeMontfort University and Mr Scott Yates, Head of Research for Youth, Community and Education, School of Applied Social Sciences, DeMontfort University

The influence of perinatal depression on child development: Understanding mechanisms

Professor Alan Stein, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Head of Section, Department of Psychiatry, Medical Sciences, Division, University of Oxford

What is needed to achieve recognition and support for this group in the UK? Reflection in pairs

Q&A Panel discussion
Chair: Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones OBE

Close of meeting


Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom

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