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Parents Plus Project

Parents Plus started working with the 3Ts Charity in 2014-2016 on a project promoting positive mental health in young people and their families.

Goal of the Project 

The goal of the 3Ts/Parents Plus project was to promote positive mental health and communication in families, and thus, reduce the risk of suicide and self-harm among young people, especially those who might be vulnerable or who are identified as at risk. To achieve this, the project centred on the combined delivery of the Parents Plus Adolescents Programme (an intervention teaching relationship-building, positive communication, and conflict resolution skills to parents) and the Working Things Out programme (a small group mental health intervention for young people, promoting positive mental health and building coping capacity) to families targeted in mental health and school settings.

Method for the Project –  the first two years

Both the Parents Plus and Working Things Out programmes employ a ‘train the trainer’ model to empower mental health and education professionals to deliver the programmes with the families they work with. The project recruited two professional groups to run the groups with parents and young people:

  • Secondary Schools Group – consisting of a cluster of 17 schools running the WTO and PPAP groups over an 18 month period, targeting vulnerable/at risk youth and their parents in the school setting. Relevant staff from each school (Home School Liaison; student counselling; other mental health support staff) have been trained and supervised in their delivery of the WTO/PPAP.
  • Adolescent Mental Health Services – this involves a cluster of 9 services providing mental health interventions to youths with identified mental health difficulties and their families (e.g. CAMHS, Primary Care etc.). Multi-disciplinary staff from these groups, such as psychiatry, social work, psychology etc., have been trained and supervised in the delivery of the WTO/PPAP.

Year 3 of the Project

Major roll outs in both schools and mental health services have been completed. This has resulted in 46 professionals from mental health settings and 65 from schools and approximately 329 parents and 301 young people attending.  To continue the benefits of the project and to address some of the challenges, Year 3 aimed to:

  • Broaden the range of the services who can deliver the Parents Plus Programmes as part of the project.
  • Expand the age range and to include the Parents Plus Early Years and Children’s Programmes in the suite of programmes offered.


In addition, two outcome studies have been completed indicating significant benefits for the participating families and one has been published in an international mental health journal ( Wynne, Doyle, Kenny, Brosnan & Sharry, 2016) reference and referenced in a large meta study (Carr, Hartnett, Brosnan & Sharry, 2016).

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