Assisting Families

Thirteen modules (2.5 hours, 3 hours and 3.5 hours in length)

1. assisting with mental illness (3 hours)

This module looks at the concepts of mental health and mental illness; some indicators of mental illness; the key differences between someone who displays poor mental health and someone with a diagnosed mental illness; factors in the development of mental illness and information regarding brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), and the structure and function of the brain, and their role in mental illness.

This module aims to introduce the following:

  • concepts of mental health and mental illness
  • key differences between someone who displays poor mental health and someone with a diagnosed mental illness
  • factors involved in the development of mental illness
  • factors involved in promoting wellness and mental health recovery
  • how the brain uses neurotransmitters, the brain's structure, function and the role of these in developing mental illness.

2. assisting with psychosis (3 hours)

This module will provide an opportunity to learn about the signs, symptoms and treatments of psychosis. It will also provide information concerning recovery and treatment options, including local supports and services.

This module aims to introduce the following:

  • definitions and common stages of psychosis
  • recognising the symptoms and experience of psychosis
  • responding to someone experiencing psychosis
  • understanding treatment and recovery using the biopsychosocial model of wellness
  • options for further information and support.

3. assisting with schizophrenia (3 hours)

This module will provide an opportunity to learn about the definition, diagnosis and causes of schizophrenia, as well as concepts of recovery and wellness support planning.

This module aims to introduce the following:

  • the definition, diagnosis and course of schizophrenia
  • the impact of a diagnosis of schizophrenia on carers, family and the person with the illness
  • the concept of separating the person from the illness and its potential benefits
  • concepts of recovery using the biopsychosocial model and identifying local supports
  • wellness support planning.

4. assisting with depression (3 hours)

This module will provide an opportunity to learn more about depression and the signs, symptoms and treatments. It will also explore the impact on family members and carers, identify supports and self-care strategies.

This module aims to introduce the following:

  • an understanding of depression, including signs, symptoms and treatments
  • what families and carers can do to help
  • the impact of depression on family and carer relationships
  • looking after oneself when caring for a person living with depression.

5. assisting with bipolar disorder (3 hours)

This module will provide an opportunity to learn more about bipolar disorder and the signs, symptoms and treatments, as well as the experience of bipolar disorder for those with the illness and their loved-ones.

This module aims to introduce the following:

  • bipolar disorder diagnosis, onset, description and some associated risks
  • treatments and recovery from bipolar disorder
  • the experience of bipolar disorder
  • the experience of families and carers.

6. assisting with meaningful communication (3 hours)

This module will provide an opportunity to become familiar with certain models of communication, practice skills and explore how these might apply to the relationship between people living with mental health problems and their carers.

This module aims to introduce the following:

  • core communication skills of listening, reflection, empathic responses and non-verbal communication
  • the LEAP model of communication
  • how these apply to meaningful communication with a loved-one with mental illness.

7. assisting with conversations about change (3.5 hours)

We cannot change another person only ourselves, however there are ways of communicating that may open up the possibility of change. This module explores some of these communication strategies and adds them to the toolbox of communication skills.

This module aims to introduce the following:

  • principles of conversations about change
  • the process of behaviour change
  • communication skills when talking with someone about change
  • how these apply to supporting a loved-one with mental illness.

8. assisting with challenging conversations (3.5 hours)

This module gives participants the opportunity to consider the types of challenging conversations mental health carers face. It will introduce the concept of conflict and ways of handling conflict and aggression. Conflict resolution and other related communication is vast. This module provides participants with an introduction.

This module aims to introduce the following:

  • types of challenging conversations
  • understanding conflict
  • styles of communication including assertive communication
  • strategies for handling aggression and conflict.

9. assisting with finding hope in grief and loss (3 hours)

This module will provide an opportunity to understand how the concepts of grief and loss can apply to the role of a carer and to explore personal experiences of grief and loss with regard to being a carer of someone with a mental illness.

This module aims to introduce the following:

  • the impact of a diagnosis of serious mental illness on families and carers
  • acknowledgement of the losses mental illness brings to families
  • an understanding of the grief response to mental illness in family members
  • strategies for moving forward and caring for oneself.

10. assisting with recovery (3 hours)

The National Framework for Recovery-Oriented Mental Health Services (Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council, 2013) identifies the importance of supporting families to understand the experience of the person living with mental illness and their recovery process. The Framework also focuses on how carers can assist and how they can put into place the supports and strategies to enhance their own wellbeing.

This module aims to introduce the following:

  • the concept of recovery both from the perspective of the person experiencing the illness and the family and carers
  • tensions and dilemmas for carers
  • practical strategies for families to support the person they are caring for in their recovery
  • collective recovery; carers need recovery too.

11. assisting with suicide risk (3 hours)

This module aims to build on participants’ skills and confidence to have a conversation with their loved-one about suicide; to assist them to identify warning signs and to reach out for help and support. This module will also give participants the opportunity to explore the impact of the caring role on themselves and their own wellbeing.

This module aims to equip carers to:

  • have a conversation with their loved-one about suicide
  • recognise warning signs for suicide risk
  • know how to respond and reach for help
  • understand the impact of the caring role on their wellbeing.

13. assisting with mindfulness (2.5 hours)

This module introduces the concept of mindfulness and offers the opportunity for participants to experience some techniques which can then be used in daily life.

This module aims to introduce the following:

  • the concept of mindfulness and its benefits
  • provide participants with the opportunity to practice various forms of mindfulness
  • consider mindfulness in the context of the caring role, mental illness and everyday life.

14. assisting with caring for yourself (3 hours)

This module explores the importance of self-care for families and carers. It aims to help identify aspects of life which may get in the way of self-care and to assist participants to develop ideas and strategies for nurturing that can inform their personal self-care journey.

This module aims to:

  • provide a supportive environment for families and carers to develop an understanding of the importance of self-care
  • assist carers to identify barriers to self-care and develop strategies to overcome these obstacles
  • allow carers to explore their needs as a whole person and how they might nurture these different aspects of themselves
  • provide the opportunity for carers to understand and develop ways to mange the impact of stress
  • guide carers to identify steps towards enhanced self-care.

Every participant receives a workbook and information kit.

To discuss your specific needs please phone: (02) 9879 2600 or email us