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Creating an optimal social environment for recovery from mental illness.

Multi-family groups promote coping skills and ongoing social contact. The family is supported by other families at the educational workshop and ongoing sessions. Families establish connections with others who have similar experiences and in turn gain a broader

social network.

What does the evidence say?

Research has shown that, for consumers whose families psychoeducation programs, relapse rates and rehospitalizations

participate in family decrease significantly

within the first year following hospitalization when compared to groups who use medication, with or without individual psychotherapy. In several studies, relapse decreased in frequency by 50% or more. Especially when carried out in multi-family groups, this approach has provided the psychosocial support consumers need to extend recovery, re-enter the work force, and develop social skills, while their families report a decrease in feeling stressed and isolated. Recent studies have shown employment rate gains of 2 to 4 times baseline levels, especially when combined with supported employment services.

Why work with families?

  • To achieve the best possible outcome for the individual with mental illness through collaborative treatment and rehabilitation

  • To ease suffering among family members by supporting their efforts to foster their loved one's recovery

  • To coordinate all elements of treatment and rehabilitation to ensure that everyone is working toward the same goals in a collaborative, supportive relationship

  • To pay attention to the social, as well as the clinical needs of the consumer

  • To listen to families and treat them as equal partners

  • To explore family members expectations and assess a family's strengths and difficulties

  • To help resolve family conflict through sensitive response to emotional distress

  • To address feelings of loss

  • To provide relevant information for consumers and families at appropriate times

  • To encourage clear communication among family members

  • To provide training for the family in structured problem-solving techniques

  • To encourage the family to expand their social support networks

  • To be flexible in meeting the needs of the family

Contents of the implementation resource kit

This resource kit includes information that helps the provider effectively lead the family psychoeducation group. Several tools are included, such as information sheets for consumers, families and practitioners, a workbook for learning the basic elements of the approach, fidelity, implementation process and outcome measures, and material for public mental health authorities. These are all intended to support providing services in a way that achieves the same kinds of remarkably improved outcomes that have been repeatedly demonstrated in prior outcome research studies.

Family Psychoeducation Toolkit


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