Families Healing Together (FHT), an interactive online mental health education program, is improving access to recovery education and support for families supporting someone experiencing emotional distress. FHT was co-developed by the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care along with Practice Recovery, a psychiatric survivor led training and consulting initiative, and Family Outreach and Response, a Toronto based family mental health support program. All three partners recognized the healing power of community and the value and importance of family mental health support.
The goal was to offer a dynamic, supportive online community of families healing together. FHT now provides education and support to families across the world and has reached hundreds of families since its inception in 2012. FHT courses are delivered by Krista MacKinnon, a mental health specialist who has worked with families from a recovery perspective for the past 10 years who has the personal experience of both recovering from a diagnosis of bipolar disorder herself, and being a family member to someone struggling with extreme distress and diagnostic labeling.
The demand for FHT’s flagship course, “Recovering our Families” has been growing. In 2015 the course will be offered six times. Recovering Our Families consists of 8 modules delivered over an 8 week period. The course is designed to create support and connection between individuals and families, offer skill building tools and inspire both hopefulness and a critical perspective on the biomedical model of mental illness. The class was written with family members in mind but is also applicable to individuals with lived experience, friends, mental health care providers or anyone who is interested in creating and supporting mental health and well-being.
The class provides families with a safe and supportive space to learn the tools of family mental health recovery. Participants can expect to:
• share stories for the purposes of connecting and healing
• learn from people who have recovered from psychiatric labeling and extreme emotional states
• deepen their understanding of the continuum of mental health distress
• harness the power of hope
• learn how to use a strengths based approach in communication
• develop ways to stay connected during psychosis
• set healthy personal boundaries
• celebrate recovery stories.
The next offering of the Recovering Our Families course begins October 28th, 2014. To register for the course please visit the Families Healing Together website at www.familieshealingtogether.com.