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Mental illness: Help for the families

Mental illness: Help for the families

“Strengthening Families Together” (SFT) is a 10-session education program, sponsored by the Sunshine Coast Branch of the BC Schizophrenia Society.  It provides information about living daily with a mental illness for family and friends of individuals with mood, anxiety and psychotic disorders. The classes provide education about different mental illnesses as well as support, awareness, and tools for family and friends of those with any serious mental illness. 

With appropriate early intervention, the consequences associated with untreated mental illness can be avoided or minimized, and the great majority of people recover from the initial acute symptoms of these illnesses. 

The recovery process is dynamic, affected by a number of interacting factors. These include the treatment environment, medication and psychological therapies, cognitive remediation, factors within the person, and factors within the person’s family and social environment. The recovery process will vary from person to person and take different lengths of time for each person, but one thing is clear: Research shows that active family support can have an important positive impact on the recovery process. 

Strengthening Families Together provides: 

• Support. Families have an opportunity to discuss the daily challenges they face; they can learn how to connect with others through membership in the group. 

• Awareness. Families gain access to reliable and consistent information about mental illness and mental health services; they also develop an understanding of recovery and the impact of stigma. 

• Tools. Families are equipped with problem solving, coping, advocacy and communication skills and the know-how to develop their own support system. 

The primary target group for Strengthening Families Together is caregivers, family members and friends of adults and youth with serious mental illnesses.  It is not intended for the person with the illness.     

There is no cost for the course but we do ask that participants commit to attending all 10 sessions if possible.  

The next Strengthening Families Together course starts on Wednesday, Oct. 2, and runs every Wednesday until Dec. 4.  It will be held at the Gibsons Public Library, 3:30-5:30pm.  If you would like to register please contact: Donna at 604- 865 -2098 or email:


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