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The Critical Role of Family

Families, consumers, providers, and physicians may not have a complete understanding of the critical role of the family in an individual’s mental illness recovery.*

There are two sections to this page. The first set of resources are general resources useful to all concerned, including practitioners, consumers, families, parents, advocates, and policymakers. The information in this first set fosters a better understanding of what is family and of the critical role of creating a supportive family in fostering recovery.

The second section is focused on resources for parents whose minor, transition-age/young adult, or adult child has a mental illness disability.

From the NAMI Blog: Features on Caregivers and Family Stories

General Resources

The Way Forward: Federal Action for a System That Works for All People Living with SMI and SED and Their Families and Caregivers

Full Report: November 2017. ISMICC (pdf)

Family engagement and involvement in health care decision-making and treatment can be a key to recovery or individuals diagnosed with a serious mental illness. When practitioners, people in recovery, and their families work collaboratively, clinical outcomes and quality of life often improve. Often, successful family engagement is built on cultural sensitivity, understanding of family relationships, and a flexible idea of what constitutes a family. Access and engagement are foci of the new federal Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee’s (ISMICC) recommendations in their November 2017 report.

Practicing Recovery: Family Engagement

Recovery to Practice, #14: April 2018, SAMHSA

The below linked issue of Practicing Recovery provides information on family engagement, including an overview of the importance of culture in families, tips from an innovative family-led program that focuses on empowering parents, and resources where you can learn more. Readers will also find tools for incorporating this important information into practice.

Practicing Recovery: The Importance of Family in Diverse Communities

Recovery to Practice, #7: June 2016, SAMHSA

”We must aspire for all systems to be culturally competent, strengths-based, and person- and family-centered, and much work remains to reach these aspirations. Even within imperfect systems, however, we can make small, but significant, changes to honor and respect the roles of families.“

Recovery to Practice Podcast Series:

Complex Clinical Decisions in Psychopharmacology

While designed largely for physicians and prescribers along with other clinical staff, the material is accessible and useful to a much wider audience. The RTP podcast series on Complex Clinical Decisions in Psychopharmacology will ultimately have six podcasts, three of which are available now:

Family Caregiver Alliance

Their website is full of useful resources and information for caregivers. Founded in the late 1970s, Family Caregiver Alliance is the first community-based nonprofit organization in the country to address the needs of families and friends providing long-term care for loved ones at home.

FCA, as a public voice for caregivers, shines light on the challenges caregivers face daily and champions their cause through education, services, and advocacy.

The services, education programs, and resources FCA provides are designed with caregivers’ needs in mind and offer support, tailored information, and tools to manage the complex demands of caregiving.

Caregiver Health

“Evidence shows that most caregivers are ill-prepared for their role and provide care with little or no support, … yet more than one-third of caregivers continue to provide intense care to others while suffering from poor health themselves.” Provides research based information about the impact of caregiving on caregivers.

* Please note: Recovery is not the same as cure.  Being in recovery is not the same as recovered. Everyone will experience different rates and degrees of recovery which may vary considerably over time.  Many feel that the use of terms such as recovery and remission are much more relevant to speak of than cure in dealing with mental illnesses.  Even those who are experiencing a period of complete, or relatively complete recovery must be aware of the potential for relapse.

Parenting Minors, Transition Age Youth, and Adults

PACER Center: Champions for Children with Disabilities

PACER Center is a National Parent Center and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that relies on a variety of sources of funding, including donations.

PACER Center enhances the quality of life and expands opportunities for children, youth, and young adults with all disabilities and their families so each person can reach his or her highest potential. PACER operates on the principles of parents helping parents, supporting families, promoting a safe environment for all children, and working in collaboration with others.  There is a plethora of resources available on this website.  Please take your time to explore all their wonderful informational pages, programs, and resources.

PACER’s Inspiring Opportunities Project

Families of children with mental health, emotional and behavioral needs often navigate multiple systems to access necessary supports and services. Families may also face additional challenges due to stigma about mental health.  The Project brings together parents, youth and professionals to help families receive the resources and support their children need. This project will also promote increased understanding of children’s mental health, emotional, and behavioral need in the broader community.

PACER’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment

The road to adulthood for youth with disabilities is filled with opportunity, and parents play a key role. PACER’s National Parent Center on Transition and Employment is ready with the information families want, presented in a way families can use.

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