Center for Family and Consumer Advocacy & Support

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Mental Illness and Suicide
A Family Guide to Facing & Reducing the Risks

These documents have been developed as an adjunct to the WFMH World Mental Health Day theme for 2006 and its monograph in 2007.
The focus is on the Families/Caregivers of those with psychiatric disorders. The objective was to help make families aware of the higher risk that the mentally ill face for suicide and to give them skills that might help. There is a Guidebook for general audiences and a Facilitators Handbook for conducting workshops based on the Guide.

GUIDEBOOK
English PDF
Spanish PDF

FACILITATOR HANDBOOK
English PDF
Spanish PDF

Workshop Questionnaire

CFAS Center News

As a way to keep us all connected and informed we hope to continue bringing you this global newsletter on Family and Consumer issues, information and hope. If you would like to submit something for our newsletter or know where we can find good information to publicize, please email info@wfmh.com with your request.

Reason to Hope Family Education and Training

Launch
Reason to Hope family education and training course was launched as a World Federation for Mental Health Program during the WFMH Congress in Athens in September 2009. Twenty delegates took Part I of the course, eleven of them continuing to Part 2 and graduation as instructors.

The Course
Reason to Hope is an international approach to family self-help. It is structured education and multi-cultural support for families, developed and taught by families; it alternates between facts and feelings, and gives information and tools at the same time as it gathers input and ideas from the participating group. Families receive information about the illness, support for themselves, and skills in how to be an effective caregiver.

Reason to Hope also offers participants who show aptitude and interest a chance to become instructors themselves, providing sessions for instructors at the end of the course. These instructors are then part of an “instructor college”, a WFMH Center for Family and Consumer Advocacy and Support network of consultation and supervision that continues throughout the life of the program in order to give support and advice to new and continuing trainers, and to gather feedback for future review and revision of the program.

As indicated above, the course follows a cascade train-the-trainer model, building the capacity of family leaders around the world and allowing exponential reach and dissemination of the training materials.

Background
The program was originally conceived as a program of the world Fellowship for Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders (WFSAD), prior to its merger with WFMH, as a reorganization of its program Strengthening Families Through Empowerment (2001-2006). The program also included, with permission, many ideas from “Strengthening Families Together” (2006), the text of which was provided by the Schizophrenia Society of Canada.

In 2007 a pilot course was delivered in Kenya to members and leaders of the Kenya Schizophrenia Foundation. Invited as potential instructors were delegates from Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, Sudan and South Africa. Following feedback from this successful pilot, and the addition of a section on Epilepsy, the course was published in its present form. It was translated into Spanish and delivered in centers in Uruguay and Argentina.

Mission

The mission of Reason to Hope is to support and empower families through providing informed education, encouragement and training and to encourage the development of family self-help, education and advocacy.

Delivering the Course

A vital component of the delivery of the course is full engagement with the receiving organization some months in advance. This liaison will establish whether the organization and its team of leaders has engaged families to participate, has an appropriate venue and can provide the visiting instructor information about local conditions.

This is where the idea of mutual exchange is important for there are many aspects of the education that are country or region-specific. A few examples are: the availability of services; the legal framework; cultural ways of conducting meetings and of providing education, as well as issues facing families that are unique to that country.

Ideally the course is given over

  • eight weeks, 2.5-hour sessions per week with additional instructor training, or
  • in the case of foreign travel to deliver the course
    • Three days: four 5-hour sessions + new-instructor training on the third day.

Because of the amount of information presented, the course is ideally suited to the eight-week format, but can be adapted to best meet the needs of families.

Reason to Hope education and training is given to a maximum of twenty family members and in some cases this group will include mental health professionals. Instructor Training will usually be given to a maximum of 8 participants with aptitude and interest.

Once the course has been delivered and a number of trainers are accredited, the family education and training can be delivered to local families.

Learning Objectives

Over the 8-class course families learn:

  • Accurate, detailed and up-to-date information about schizophrenia and allied disorders, their symptoms, prognosis, and treatment.
  • Skills for providing care to their relative, including communications, managing the day-to-day, crisis planning and intervention, and relapse prevention.
  • Self care tools, including the importance and role of family support organizations.
  • How to connect and deal with their emotional reactions throughout the various stages of caring for a relative with schizophrenia.

Course Content

Class 1: Introduction to Mental Illness
Class 2: Schizophrenia
Class 3: Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Class 4: Coping as a Family Part 1
Class 5: Coping as a Family Part 2
Class 6: Treating Mental Illness
Class 7: Living with Mental Illness
Class 8: Advocacy: Striving for Change

For more information please contact Diane Froggatt