When parents with mental or addiction disorders seek help, they come into contact with various professionals – staff at offices and counselling centres, therapists and doctors. They can all help, if they also consider the children of the affected parents and provide appropriate help and support.

'Children of Mentally Ill Parents' working group

To introduce new professionals to the topic and the current state of care and cooperation, and to formulate quality standards, the 'Children of Mentally Ill Parents' working group took on the task of designing a work aid, which is available here:

Work aid: Children of Mentally Ill Parents

What stresses do families with mentally ill or addicted members face?

Children in these families often get neglected, although they too can be affected by their parents' symptoms. The risk of developing a mental illness or addiction later in life is also higher for children with mentally ill or addicted parents.

How are the children?

Children often struggle with feelings of guilt, fear or helplessness. A lack of communication about their parents' situation within the family often leads to the children's problems getting worse. In particular, the inpatient treatment of a parent often significantly disrupts normal daily life and the child's development.

What can I do to offer help?

From the very first conversation with the affected parents, you can address the children's situation and keep it in mind. Be active and make yourself available as a contact person.

Often, parents with mental illness or addiction feel ashamed of their situation. Try to alleviate fears and reservations. It often helps those affected to exchange experiences with people in similar situations. By bringing parents together in groups, you promote open exchange among them. Also, provide patients and colleagues with helpful materials to raise awareness of the issue.

Where can I find support for affected parents?

You can find more information here:

  • Kindesschutzstelle des Jugendamtes Mannheim  Flyer
    Emergency number - Fulfilling the protection mandate in cases of child endangerment
  • Kinder- und Jugendamt Heidelberg
    Specialist counselling centre for child endangerment
  • Kinder- und Jugendschutz Rhein-Neckar-Kreis  Flyer
    Counselling in suspected cases of child endangerment
  • Medizinische Kinderschutzhotline: 0800 19 210 00 (Kostenfrei - 24/7)  Flyer
    The Medical Child Protection Hotline is a nationwide free service for medical professionals, members of child and youth welfare services and family courts in suspected cases of child abuse, neglect and child sexual abuse. The hotline is not for parents or those affected directly. It offers immediate, competent, practical and collegial advice and case discussion.
  • 'FRÜHE HILFEN' Mannheim - Fach- und KoordinationsstelleFlyer AnlaufstelleFlyer Eltern-Kind-Zentren
    Specialist and coordination centre for organising, expanding and networking tailored services for (expectant) parents with children aged 0 to 3
  • 'FRÜHE HILFEN' Heidelberg - Netzwerkkoordination
    Information and counselling centre for questions about supporting pregnant people and families with children aged 0 to 3 for practising paediatricians and gynaecologists, maternity clinics in Heidelberg, and all other professional groups and institutions dealing with infants and toddlers in this age group
  • 'FRÜHE HILFEN' Rhein-Neckar-Kreis - Koordinationsstelle
    Early specific information, counselling and support services for (expectant) parents in stressful life situations
  • Nationales Zentrum 'Frühe Hilfen'
    The NZFH takes on extensive tasks at the federal level – based on various legal foundations – with the aim of sustainably improving the development opportunities of children and parents, especially in stressful life situations. To implement its tasks and further develop Early Assistance, the NZFH addresses the different people involved in Early Assistance, provides them with information and work aids, and prepares practical findings on relevant specialist topics.
  • MaIKEFlyer
    Mannheim Initiative for Children of Mentally Ill Parents
  • Netzwerk - Hilf.KidsFlyer
    Assistance for families affected by addiction - a service of the Mannheim Drug Association
  • KisikoFlyer
    A service offered by Caritas Mannheim for children of families affected by addiction
  • FaTZ
    The Family Therapeutic Centre in Neckargmünd offers integrated, attachment-oriented day-clinic therapy for mentally ill children with parents and/or mentally ill parents with children. The service is particularly aimed at mentally ill children with mentally ill parents (i.e. both parents and children are symptom carriers in the family).
  • Balance
    Counselling and orientation service for children of mentally ill parents at Heidelberg University Hospital
  • Blaues Kreuz - Suchtberatung
    Regional specialist counselling of the evangelical city mission in Heidelberg, the Rhein-Neckar district, and in Bretten - The facilities offer a wide range of assistance and information to people with addiction problems and their relatives.
  • bwlv
    Baden-Württemberg State Association for Prevention and Rehabilitation - the largest non-profit provider of addiction support in Baden-Württemberg, with the goals of preventing addiction and advising and treating addicts.
  • Hand in Hand
    Multiprofessional competence and prevention network in the Rhein-Neckar district to support mentally stressed and teenage mothers and their children after birth
    New communication platform about working with children from families affected by addiction, where professionals from all over Germany can network and share their wealth of experience - in a safe environment
    Knowledge network for professionals on the subject of "Children in families affected by addiction"
  • DHS - Deutsche Hauptstelle für Suchtfragen
    strengthens addiction prevention, represents addiction assistance, supports addiction self-help, informs the public
  • LSS -Landesstelle für Suchtfragen in BW
    Coordination and substantive and structural development of addiction assistance and addiction prevention in Baden-Württemberg
    "Forum Transfer" is an innovative platform for discussing practices and for developing and testing new and especially digital approaches in child and youth welfare. It provides a forum for your questions and experiences from practice, presents information and scientific findings, and offers the opportunity to develop and transfer concepts for fields of action in child and youth welfare with public and independent sponsors.

With our Help Finder, you can find services near you by searching by postcode. Here you will find further nationwide assistance / online offers of assistance. And these helpful materials may also be useful for you.

Get in touch

If you would like to become a children's welfare officer yourself or establish the concept at your institution, please contact us.

You can reach us in Mannheim by emailing or calling 0621 1703 - 6161.

In Wiesloch, you can reach us by emailing or calling 06222 55-2790.