Authors: Glenda Blackwell, QLD
Event: 2009 TheMHS Conference
Subject: A MEANINGFUL LIFE, CARERS, FAMILIES, Positive regard for Mental Illness
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Families are a significant part of the lives of people with a mental illness. They need information and support to cope with the challenges of caring and providing vital support to enable a better quality of life for their loved one (Jensen, 2004). They are also a valuable, if unrecognised, source of knowledge and experience in terms of participation with services, consumers and other families. Recent research (Lucksted et al., 2008) describes a process of change for Family to Family Education (FtFE) participants in the United States (US) that results in both immediate and global benefits. This is compared with the experiences of North Queensland participants in the Well Ways Programme, an FtF programme offering both education and support to family members and carers of people with a mental illness. It is seen that this process is robust through the experiences of participants regardless of location. Also addressed are consequential changes in the objective burden of care as programme participants develop adaptive behaviours benefitting the family and the person they care for. The scope of Well Ways reaches further than the individual with the concept of a Carer Support Hub supporting the development of community capacity, social inclusion and resilience.