Mental Health Care: Family Resource Centre and Family Advisory Council

“As we often say, there are really only eight kinds of people affected by mental disorder.  It’s a very small list, but we all know someone on it: someone’s mother, daughter, sister or wife; someone’s father, brother, husband or son.”
~ Julia Nunes and Scott Simmie
Beyond Crazy, Journeys Through Mental Illness

St. Joseph’s Mental Health Care Family Advisory Council understands that families are essential to maximizing the recovery of their ill family members and that the entire family is often impacted by the illness of one's loved one.

Our goal is to help facilitate effective and on-going communication between family members and staff, while ensuring family members are engaged as full partners in treatment as well as discharge/transition planning for their loved one. 

We advocate for the best quality of life, care and treatment for both inpatients and outpatients.

We expect professional caregivers to treat each patient as they would want their own family members treated.

We remind others that people with severe and persistent mental illness come from families just like theirs and mine.

The Family Advisory Councils is part of a provincial body of family councils. To learn more visit: www.ofcan.org

History

The Family Advisory Council was created in 1997, with the purpose of assisting staff to clearly identify ways in which the delivery of mental health care can be more sensitive and responsive to patient and family needs.  

Mission statement

Promote a cooperative, mutually supportive, and caring environment from which people with mental illness will benefit… a voice for all family members.

Values

Respect

•    Honour our family members in sickness and in health
•    Appreciate the work of staff
•    Welcome the contribution of all family members

Excellence

•    Face each day with patience, integrity, and determination
•    Be creative and resourceful with our gifts, skills, and talents
•    Build on our past achievements
•    Work as a team

Compassion

•    Listen and learn from others
•    Understand families’ needs, realities, expectations, and hopes
•    Give from the heart
•    Sustain the spirit

Family Charter of Rights

The following statements are intended to reflect the needs and rights of families as partners in the delivery of mental health care for their loved ones at St. Joseph’s Health Care London. 

Families have the right to:
•    A mental health care program in which family involvement is valued and encouraged
•    Respect and understanding
•    Inclusion in the process of diagnosis, treatment and discharge planning of their loved one
•    Education about their loved one’s diagnosis 
•    The best treatments, practices and therapies that maximize recovery and rehabilitation for their loved one
•    Feedback between caregivers and professionals
•    Information on community resources and how to access them
•    A healing environment free of stigma
•    Caring staff who understand that the whole family is impacted by their loved ones’ mental illness

Created by the Family Advisory Council of St. Joseph’s Mental Health Care Programs

Mental Health Care Family Resource Centre

The Mental Health Care Family Resource Centre is located within Parkwood Institute’s Mental Health Care Building and is available to families who have a loved one experiencing mental health challenges. 

The centre provides a comfortable place where families can obtain current information about a particular illness, knowledge on navigating the mental health care system, as well as skill building courses and coping strategies from other family members who have had similar experiences.  

The Family Resource Centre has an excellent variety of current books, magazines, videos, audiotapes and pamphlets available, as well as a computer for accessing information on the Internet. The centre also offers the opportunity to meet with other family members one-on-one or in small groups to share experiences and provide peer support, and to participate in a formal family education course.

It is hoped that through these services, families will be better able to support their ill relatives, while reducing stress in their own lives.
Family members are welcome to join the Family Advisory Council, where attendance at monthly meetings is voluntary.

All of the above services are free of charge.