Mental illnesses are chronic disorders whose onset and acute phases are stressful and traumatic for everyone involved.
Those who are ill struggle with mood, anxiety and delusions; family members struggle with guilt, grief, fear and isolation. To complicate matters, many people with mental illness are unaware they are ill (this is a medically recognized symptom called neurological anosognosia) and reject the idea of treatment.
The health system offers some help to those who are ill, but the family is usually left to cope alone as best they can.
The BC Schizophrenia Society - Sunshine Coast branch can help.
The Sunshine Coast Branch is pleased to offer Family to Family, a free 12-session program presented by family members, for family members.
"Family to Family gives participants the tools to understand the symptoms of mood, anxiety and psychotic disorders, and to empathize with those experiencing them," said program facilitator Rebecca Pavitt.
"Treatment, communication, problem solving, self-care and advocacy are among the topics covered. Participants learn from each other, give mutual support within the structure of this well-tested program, and become empowered to deal more confidently with their own particular situation."
Classes will be held Tuesday evenings from 7 to 9:30 p.m. starting April 1 at the Salvation Army offices in Gibsons.
The course is free, but class size is limited, so early registration is advised. To register, please call Anne at 604-886-7988.
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