Authors: John Farhall, Kate Higgins, Stephanie Mathews, Kirk Ratcliff, Sue Farnan
Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Service Systems, Delivery, Implementation,Research & Evaluation Informing Practice,Lived Experience, Recovery
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Although there is a strong evidence base for clinician-led family psychoeducation programs, peer delivered family education has received less research and evaluation attention (Dixon et al. 2004). Building a Future is a program developed by Wellways (formally Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria) in the early 2000s that utilises peer delivery, multimedia and group work to deliver up to date information about mental health and recovery for people experiencing mental health issues and their families and carers. The groups aim to support participants to examine some of the complex emotional and practical issues involved in providing care to a family member experiencing mental health issues and to develop ongoing support and information mechanisms. Feedback questionnaires have been completed by over 1000 participants across different phases of evaluation including a recent small (n=34) wait-list control study. We put some new results in the context of previous findings (Stephens et al. 2011) and reflect on what we now know about benefits and possible processes of peer led family education.
Learning Objective 1: People in the audience will gain a better appreciation of the nature and extent of benefits of peer delivered family education about mental health issues.
Learning Objective 2: The presentation will illustrate how family members experience is relevant to services: Family members who have had lived experience of caring for a member living with mental health issues are in a strong position to make an authentic, evidence-informed and cost-effective impact on the lives of others in a similar position.
Dixon L, Lucksted A, Stewart B, Burland J et al . Outcomes of the peer-taught 12-week family-to-family education program for severe mental illness. Acta Psychiatr Scand 2004; 109:207 – 215.
Stephens, J, Farhall, J, Farnan, S. & Ratcliff, K. (2011). An evaluation of Well Ways, a family education program for carers of people with a mental illness. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 45(1), 45-53