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Helping Families Team

How our service can help you

The Helping Families Team is an innovative community-based team that is working to improve outcomes for families in which parents are affected by mental health difficulties.

We aim to bridge the gaps between CAMHS, adult mental health, education, and children's services by providing:

  • Early intervention and support in collaboration with alongside existing services
  • Specialist parenting assessment and intervention to parents with mental health difficulties and complex psychosocial needs
  • Specialist advice, consultation, and training

Our team uses a proactive outreach and therapeutic approach to positively engage families. The team primarily works with parents, however, we do also work directly with children and young people, where appropriate.

The Team's work uses a whole-family approach that:

  • Improves the life chances of children, builds family resilience, and reduces risk
  • Recognises the inter-related needs of children, parents, and the family as a whole
  • Uses partnership-based and family focused approaches that share and enhance the knowledge and expertise of the family and professional network
  • Tailors effective invention, care, and support to meet the needs of the family.

The Helping Families team is a programme developed by the Centre for Parent and Child Support (CPCS). We work in partnership with other programmes developed by CPCS:

  • Empowering Parents Empowering Communities
  • Family Partnership Model

  • Treatment type: Training and service delivery
  • Contact the service

    Site Location: Maudsley Hospital Email: Email: Web:
  • Disabled Access:
    • Wheelchair accessible building
    • Ground floor therapy rooms
    • Accessible toilets on all levels
    • Lift access to the 1stfloor.
  • Address: Michael Rutter Centre
    Maudsley Hospital
    De Crespigny Park,
    SE5 8AZ
  • Business Hours/Visiting Hours: Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
  • Other essential information

  • Conditions: Helping Families Team


The Helping Families Team has been developed to improve the outcomes and protection of families in which parents are affected by mental health difficulties.

The team enables parents affected by mental health difficulties to have better, easier and less stigmatised access to:

  • Detailed and effective one-to-one home-based assessments focusing on the impact of parental mental health problems on family ecology, parenting and child development/safety, identification of key risk and resilience factors, focus on feasible and realistic goals and effective care plans using evidence based engagement and intervention methods
  • Intensive one-to-one home-based intervention for parents whose mental health difficulties are having a significant impact on child development, safety and outcomes
  • Group format specialist parenting interventions to promote positive parenting and child development for at risk parents affected by mental health difficulties

The team also provides advice, consultation and training to referrers and their agencies.

Eligibility criteria

  • Parents whose mental health impacts on parenting and children’s development.
  • Parents who experience a range of mental health difficulties including; depression, anxiety, interpersonal difficulties, psychosis
  • Families with children and young people, from newborn to 18 years
  • Parents who are current users of children’s services and/or mental health services.
  • Children who may be subject to child in need, child protection or in receipt of early help services

What is needed:

  • Joint work with the referrer
  • Parental consent to information sharing and partnership working


  • Patient engagement and partnership working resulting in improved outcomes for children, parents and families
  • The understanding of the potential impact of parental mental health on their child and parenting
  • The parent-child relationship
  • Parental reflective functioning
  • The emotional wellbeing within the family

Care Options

Care option: Assessment
Unit: Per assessment

Description: Assessments of the impact of parental mental health on family ecology, parenting and child development and safety, identifying risk factors, resulting in realistic goals and effective care plans developed in partnership with other practitioners and agencies.

Care option: Intervention
Unit: Per treatment block

Description: A range of early and intensive interventions tailored to individual family need. These include focussed one-to-one structured, home-based interventions that address existing significant parenting issues that are undermining children’s development, outcomes and protection. Parent and child progress and outcomes are routinely monitored. Multi-agency consultation.

Care option: Group interventions
Unit: Per group

Description: Group based parenting interventions that promote positive parenting and provide early intervention for parents where there is a risk that their mental health problems may significantly affect child outcomes.

  • Being a parent with mental health difficulties
  • Baby and us (perinatal)
  • Being a parent of a child with mental health difficulties
  • Living with teenagers who are experiencing mental health difficulties

Care option: Consultation
Unit: Per consultation

Description: Consultation is available to clinicians and teams regarding concerns related to parental mental health difficulties and the impact on child and family functioning.

Care option: Training
Unit: Per training event

Description: Specialist training developed to meet the needs of the commissioning service.

Our experts

Dr Joanna Gibbons, Clinical Psychologist - Read more

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