Helping children become champs about mental health

Peninsula Health Families where a Parent has a Mental Illness Coordinator and Occupational Therapist, Allira McCall, is excited to be offering the CHAMPS group in 2021.

Peninsula Health is proudly running an upcoming program that supports children who have a parent or adult family member with mental health challenges.

Called ‘CHAMPS’, the weekly program is a free peer support group for kids aged 8 – 12 years old. It begins on Thursday, 29 April 2021 and runs for five weeks (further details are below).

CHAMPS is facilitated by experienced Mental Health Service staff, including some who have a lived experience of mental illness or being a carer.

“We’re so excited to offer the CHAMPS group this year,” says Peninsula Health Families where a Parent has a Mental Illness (FaPMI) Coordinator and Occupational Therapist, Allira McCall.

“Just under a quarter of Victorian children live in a household where a parent has mental illness, but this is not always openly talked about and can be a lonely experience for both kids and parents.”

“CHAMPS changes this – the genuine connections made and the valuable knowledge shared by all members of the group can really benefit families into the future.”

During the sessions, children will learn about mental illness and self-care, while developing healthy coping strategies. They will also get the opportunity to meet other children who are living through similar experiences. 

In doing so, the program aims to promote healthy communication between parent and child, while reducing the feeling of isolation that many children experience when living with a parent or family member with a mental illness. 

A simultaneous parents’ group will run at the same time as the children’s sessions.

Program details

CHAMPS will run every Thursday for five weeks, from 4pm – 5.30pm, beginning 29 April 2021. Specific dates are:

  • 29 April
  • 6 May
  • 13 May
  • 20 May
  • 27 May

All sessions are held at Frankston North Community Centre (26 Mahogany Ave, Frankston North).

Program eligibility

To participate in the program:

  • The child needs to be between 8 to 12 years old.
  • The child must have a parent, or other close adult family member, with mental illness. They do not need to be living together. The mental illness does not need to be formally diagnosed. 
  • The family must have at least one formal support service involved. This is to ensure there is a point of contact for group facilitators in case issues arise that require following up outside of group hours. 
  • The group is open to families residing in the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula region.

How can I register or learn more?

To register a child or learn more, please contact Sarah Dickenson or Allira McCall on:

For information on group programs in other areas for families where a parent has a mental illness, head to where you will find details of your local FaPMI Coordinator.