Journal of Parent and Family Mental Health Author Guidelines

Article Types

We encourage potential authors to think of this brief report as a piece that highlights some aspect of your work on whatever project you choose in relation to parental and family mental health. These brief articles can be useful to provide to policy makers or practitioners who benefit from a brief overview of your work, laying the groundwork for future endeavors.

There is a wide range of article types for Journal of Parent and Family Mental Health products. These include:

Issue Briefs: Issue Briefs are usually one-page (front and back) brief summaries of topics of interest, in this case issues specific to adults and/or children who have experienced parental mental illness. Issue Briefs could offer real world strategies about working with parents to be implemented by mental health providers and clinicians, or could educate family members living with parental mental illness on strategies for talking about their role as parents with people in their lives. Issue Briefs could give an overview of a specific issue related to parental mental illness and families, or discuss policies that affect this vulnerable population. When developing your Issue Brief be aware of your target audience and the message your Brief will convey. What are some specific things that the audience can take away from this Brief and/or put in their work and/or personal lives? How will the information you are presenting directly or indirectly affect providers, individuals with lived mental health experience, and family members?

While the Issue Brief format is fairly fluid, most Issue Briefs will include an Introduction/Overview; Key Points or Results/Findings; Recommendations or Policy Implications/Future Directions; and 2-3 highlighted sentences that summarize the Brief. Issue Briefs are approximately 1,000 words (not including references). Click here for an example of an Issue Brief.

Research in the Works: This product describes new and/or ongoing research focused on adults and/or children and parental mental illness. Research in the Works are typically one page, and provide an overview of research aims, methods, and goals of the research. Click here for an example of a Research in the Works.

Research You Can Use: This product focuses on research findings that can be used in real world settings. Research You Can Use products are typically one page and highlight 3-5 research findings that are relevant for use by a particular audience (e.g., clinicians or parents living with mental illness). Click here for an example of a Research You Can Use.

Tip Sheets: This product is dedicated to tools and worksheets relevant to stakeholders dedicated to adults and/or children living in families experiencing parental mental illness. Click here for an example of a Tip Sheet.


When developing a product for the Journal of Parent and Family Mental Health, you can decide your target audience. Suggested target audiences include:

  • Mental health providers and clinicians
  • Peer professionals
  • Individuals with lived mental health experience
  • Family members of individuals with lived mental health experience
  • Advocacy groups
  • Mental health researchers
  • Mental health administrators and policy-makers

Peer Review

All submissions are subject to review and publication at the discretion of the editors. Submissions within scope will be reviewed by at least two reviewers. On completion of this process, usually within 6-8 weeks, the editors will notify authors of their decision and provide review guidance or additional editing if deemed necessary.

The journal uses an anonymous peer review process, which means that the identities of the authors are concealed from the reviewers, and vice versa, throughout the review process. To facilitate this process, authors should make every effort to ensure that the manuscript contains no clues to the authors' identity. The manuscript itself should not include authors' names, institutional affiliations, contact information, funding statements, or acknowledgements. This information should be included in the cover letter and entered into the submission system during the submission process.

Within the manuscript, follow these additional guidelines for anonymous peer review:

  • Replace any information in the title, abstract and text that would identify the authors, including institution names and URLs, by substituting words such as: [institution name hidden for review]
  • Limit citations to your previous work to papers that are relevant for those reviewing the submitted paper. If it is necessary to cite your own work, cite papers published by the authors in the text and in the reference list as follows: ‘[Anonymous, 2015 – hidden for review]’. Use the third person to refer to work the authors have previously undertaken, e.g. replace any phrases like “as we have shown before” with “… has been shown before [Anonymous, 2015 – hidden for review].”
  • Make sure figures do not contain any affiliation related information.
  • Name your files with care (do not include author or institution names in the file names) and ensure that Microsoft Word document properties are also anonymized.
  • If your submission is accepted for publication, you will be required to put back in information that was hidden for peer review (references to the authors, their institutions, self-citations, etc.) before final copyediting can take place.

Manuscript Preparation

  • The manuscript must be submitted as a Microsoft Word file or a Rich Text Format (RTF) file
  • Follow instructions above under Peer Review to prepare the manuscript and files for anonymous peer review
  • Double space the entire manuscript, including title, abstract, body, references, tables, and legends
  • All articles must be accompanied by an abstract. The abstract should not include institutional affiliations or other clues to the authors’ identity.
  • Please use APA style for bibliography and in-text references (author, year)
  • You are encouraged to use bulleted items and lists whenever possible
  • Identify 1-2 quotes from the Brief that can be highlighted during formatting
  • Use of graphs or charts to highlight findings is encouraged
  • Use plain language strategies
  • Prepare a separate cover letter to introduce your manuscript to the editors and include article title and author identification information. This information will be entered in the "Comments to the Editor" field on the submission form. See more guidelines below under Cover Letter.

Cover Letter

Prepare a separate cover letter to introduce your manuscript to the editors and to include author identification information. This information will be entered in the "Comments to the Editor" field on the submission form. The cover letter should include the following:

  • Title of submission
  • Author(s), with each author's highest academic degree or professional certification
  • Institutional affiliation for each author, with city, state, and country
  • Name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address of the author responsible for correspondence
  • Clearly state the purpose of the paper and its expected contribution
  • Funding statements and/or other acknowledgments
  • Any previous presentation of the data or findings in a preliminary report or abstract