Every month, family members meet in West Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, and Port Coquitlam for regular sessions of the Family Support Groups. For information on any of the groups, or to register, please contact the Family Support Centre.
Family members with ill relatives suffering from any serious mental illness – schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, or anxiety disorders – and those without a diagnosis are welcome to participate. The problems they face, as families dealing with an acutely ill relative, are similar.
Nothing is quite like the support of others who are dealing with the same problems on a day-to-day basis or who have been faced with similar challenges in the past. It’s why leading American psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey, in his book Surviving Schizophrenia, advises that “to survive schizophrenia, the single most important step which should be taken by families with a schizophrenic family member is to join a family support group.
Participants hear from other family members about their experiences, recount what they are dealing with, exchange notes on how to cope, or just gather strength and comfort from being together with others who understand. The sharing of good news of ill relatives becoming better, through treatment and rehabilitation, is also an important part of these sessions. This gathering of family members lies at the heart of what a family self-help organization is about.