Family Connections

Families spend significantly more time with their loved ones than mental health professionals. Family Connections makes the most of that time by equipping family members to support them effectively.

When someone experiences mental illness, they rarely struggle through it completely alone. Family members often play a large role in supporting their loved ones. Without appropriate education and skill building this can at best be challenging and at worst exacerbate their symptoms. Thanks to community support, Family Connections gives caregivers a place to connect and learn.

Family Connections is a skill-building workshop for families or caregivers of loved ones—particularly youth—who struggle with emotional dysregulation. Over either a series of weekends or 12 evenings, parents are provided with current information on mental health disorders and evidence-based treatments, and taught coping skills that they can use at home. The sessions are peer-taught, using attendees’ personal experiences as jumping off points to develop understanding and healthy methods for managing their loved ones mental illness.

Participants also meet likeminded parents and caregivers. This fosters a safe space and provides the additional resource of a network of parents who understand each other’s experience.

 

I cannot express my gratitude on a big enough scale. There are no words. If all we did to change the system was to add Family Connections, I guarantee it would save lives.
Rhonda, Family Connections participant

Highlights of the Program

  • Hundreds of family members have now received training through the Family Connections program
  • The course is now offered in Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Stony Plain/Spruce Grove.
  • Entirely facilitated by volunteers, the program is a cost-effective way to support families
  • Family members are often negatively impacted by the strain of supporting a loved one, and have few resources aimed at them; Family Connections fills this current gap in the system
  • Research suggests that enhancing caregiving capacity has a clinically significant impact on the course of their relative’s mental illness
  • Empowering family members to provide effective support builds a continuum of care from the clinical team into the home
  • Giving laypersons skills to support mental health takes strain off the system

To find a course near you in Alberta, check the schedule here.