Established in 1982, at Brendan Fleming Solicitors we specialise in Family Law, offering our clients expert legal advice in both Public and Private Law matters, including Care Proceedings, Non-Accidental Injury, Divorce & Children’s Proceedings and issues with Social Services.


Contact Brendan Fleming Solicitors by emailing or by calling 0121 683 5000


Contact our Non-Accidental Injury Department on 07730 143 432. If it is out of hours, you can call our staffed 24 hour helpline on 0121 683 5000. Alternatively you can email us on

Our Location

165 Newhall Street
St. Paul’s Square
Birmingham B3 1SW


0121 683 5000


Parental Mental Illness

Mental illness does not in itself indicate an inability to be a successful parent. It also does not mean that your child is viewed as being at a definite risk of harm just because you have been classified as suffering with a mental illness.


Mental illness can be treated to ensure that the child does not come to harm.  It is when the mental illness affects a parent’s ability to parent a child to a standard that is considered acceptable that concerns are usually raised.


However, statistically speaking, where a parent is suffering with chronic or severe mental health problems, the children are more likely to be at risk of significant harm: a study of 100 child deaths as a result of abuse or neglect showed clear evidence of a parent suffering with mental illness in one-third of cases.


When considering if a child is considered to be at risk of significant harm or of having their wellbeing adversely affected as a result of the parent’s mental illness the child may:


  • Feature within parental delusions;
  • Be involved in his/her parent’s obsessive-compulsive behaviours;
  • Become a target for parental aggression or rejection;
  • Have caring responsibilities inappropriate to his/her age;
  • Witness disturbing behaviour arising from the mental illness;
  • Be neglected physically and/or emotionally by an unwell parent;
  • Not live with the unwell parent, but has contact.


Where a pregnant mother has previously been diagnosed with a severe mental illness, the unborn child may be equally considered to be at risk where the mental illness may results in a known risk or harm to themselves and/ or others, including the unborn child both in utero and after birth.


The fundamental issue is whether the mental illness causes risk or harm to a child and if that risk or harm can be managed or not to reduce that risk to ensure that a child is safe.


It is important that any mental illness is identified and appropriate treatment provided.

Contact Us In Confidence

Arrange a consultation – 0121 683 5000. Or email us at