Authors: Illawarra Institute for Mental Health, University of Wollongong Queensland University of Technology University of Queensland
Event: 2011 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: NSW
Award level: Special Judges Award (Research Focus)
Award category: Specialist Service or Part of a Larger Service
Abstract: Family Connections is a guided self-help correspondence program that aims to improve the recovery of family members who provide support to people with psychosis. The program provides traditional education and information to carers, but also provides structured exercises to support carers to identify and pursue life directions and goals that are important to them. The focus is not on skills to better “manage” the person with a mental illness, but instead on supporting carers to lead a rich and meaningful life even with the reality of caring for a relative with psychosis. Key program content focuses on areas such as strengths identification, mindfulness skills, motivational strategies, identifying life values and setting individual and family goals with associated action plans. The program is innovative both in its content, assisting family members to focus on their own recovery and also with respect to the mode of delivery. Description of Facility/Organisation: The Family Connections program was developed by: Professor Frank Deane, Dr. Trevor Crowe and Dr. Sarah Marshall (Illawarra Institute for Mental Health, University of Wollongong), Dr. Angela White (University of Queensland) and Professor David Kavanagh (Queensland University of Technology). The program is coordinated from the Illawarra Institute for Mental Health at the University of Wollongong. A research trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the Family Connections program was funded by the Australian Rotary Health Research Fund from 2009-2011 (for study design see Figure page 6). The trial received $150,000 in funding over 3-years and targeted family members caring for a relative with psychosis around Australia, residing in regional, rural and remote locations. Eighty two participants have participated and given that this is a correspondence based program they reside across Australia from NSW, QLD, VIC, TAS, WA and SA. The program has the potential to provide services to all of Australia.