Respite Program Testimonials

The following are some testimonials received from family members in the Fraser Health Region who have received respite help from the BCSS Respite Program, funded by Fraser Health. The respite program helps family members who are the primary unpaid caregiver for a person with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia to take a much needed break from caregiving. When needed, a small amount of funding is provided by the program to help make these self care breaks possible. For more information on the family respite program, please visit this link.

We would like to thank you and Fraser Health. We want you to know how much we enjoyed the respite support to just get away for a week.

It made it affordable for us. Not to get daily phone calls was a nice treat. This was the first time we ever had use of these funds, and we sure hope to qualify again this year.

It would be nice if it was a bit more,since cost of travel as well as lodging seems to keep going up. It did help, so we had to add less of our own money.

Thanks again and hoping for this year!! Thanks again

H and A

The benefits I have received as a recipient of Respite Funding are enormous. Living with my son who seldom leaves the house can be very trying. Usually, I go out through the day just for the relief of being “free”. I keep my health up as it is most important in this difficult situation wherein he blames me for his having to be on meds for schizophrenia.

I look forward ever so much to my brief getaways and the cost of living is such that without this funding, I would not be able to have a break.

I only wish that I could have it every year but evidently three years is the maximum allowed.

If my son does not outlive me, (with the amount he smokes, it is an unwelcome possibility) I have made half of my estate out to the Caregivers of people with schizophrenia at the BCSS. I hope more people will do so. In the meantime, good luck with fundraising for this very worthy purpose.
R. Renwick

I want to thank Francesca and the funding for the respite help that we received last year 2011. It came at time when we really needed all the help we could get. Our son has been suffering from mental illness for almost 2 years and the medications have been switched several times. Also having my son as a teenager going through many extremes, this respite help supported my son by getting a support person to help him during a most difficult time. This support person was able to communicate with him when no one else could. Needless to say, my son looked forward to the visits and the assistance as well. It also helped our family tremendously, as we needed additional support during a most difficult time.

This funding is sooooo needed for families with members suffering from mental health issues. Until you have lived in these conditions, nobody really understands what is needed. And any supports to help our family members is sooo greatly needed. If our family members had cancer then there are ooddles of support. Because they have mental health issues, people walk away or move on as long as it does not concern them. That is why we desparately need these supports and more supports to cope with the day to day living of family members with mental health concerns. It does not go away with a pop of a pill. contrary — meds need to be kept adjusted over and over until it works and then sometimes meds need to be adjusted as the person grows. This takes time and requires additional support of respite and community support to help families keep our family with mental health issues living in in our community.

Please keep the funding going for these services and please increase this funding as it is greatly needed.


I would like to say how grateful I am for all of the assistance I have had from the Respite Fund over the past several years.

My husband suffers from Manic Depression and I have been his full time care giver since he became ill almost 18 years ago. During this time I have held a full time job as Pharmacy Technician until Jan 2011 when I became very sick. I am now on Long term Disability.

In the past I have used the funds to enjoy a weekends away at a Ladies retreat and have used the funds to pay for a support person to look in on my husband when I am away for the weekend. I do not have the words to say how much this has meant to me.  – J


I am writing to thank you and Fraser Health for the respite funding that I have received this past year. It has been invaluable to me and to my family and I honestly don’t know what I would do without it.

It is difficult to live day to day with a person who suffers from mental illness and this funding has enabled my daughters and I to have a much needed break. It makes a HUGE difference to our ability to cope and handle the daily struggles when we know that we have an opportunity to get away together. It means a lot to us to have time “just the girls”, which we wouldn’t get to have without this respite funding. Being able to use this funding to be away from our home has been such a wonderful blessing for us. It re-charges us and gives us the strength and energy we need to carry on.

I love to see the smiles on my daughters’ faces and how relaxed and happy they are when we are away together, just the three of us. We have so much fun together when we can be carefree and do what we want to do when we want to do it. I can’t express in words how important this time is for us. Without it, we would never get a break and I can’t imagine how we would survive. We look forward to this time away and treasure every moment we are able to spend together.

Respite Funding is absolutely crucial for families dealing with a family member who suffers from mental illness. I am so grateful for the funding I have received and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for providing this blessing for me and for my two daughters. We appreciate every moment we have been given because of the funding we have received!!

Thank you,

A, S & N.

I would like to say how grateful I am for all of the assistance I have had from the Respite Fund over the past several years.

My husband suffers from Manic Depression and I have been his full time care giver since he became ill almost 18 years ago. During this time I have held a full time job as Pharmacy Technician until Jan 2011 when I became very sick. I am now on Long term Disability.

In the past I have used the funds to enjoy a weekends away at a Ladies retreat and have used the funds to pay for a support person to look in on my husband when I am away for the weekend. I do not have the words to say how much this has meant to me.

Fraser Health, I am writing to you as the funder for respite for the BC Schizophrenia Society and I wanted to let you know what that respite means to my children and me. I have been married for 30 years to a husband with mental health issues. Since his cancer in 2003 his mental health has degraded drastically and I find my children aged 12 and 8 and my handicapped 27 year old son are living under very difficult, trying conditions.
Personally I have never had any holiday since my disabled son was born. We adopted 2 special needs siblings prior to hubby’s cancer and subsequent brain damage and descent into psychosis. When I learned of the respite available for us I was so excited and promptly planned a trip to Vancouver before the fiscal funding year ended.
For the first time in years I could relax, go swimming in a pool, visit Science World and watch movies in the peace of a hotel room. The joy and energy I felt in sharing this time with my children is difficult to express. The freedom from worry and the ability to laugh and play and relax is worth more than anything for us.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this opportunity and I hope I have been able to convey, at least a little, the precious value that respite means and holds for my children and for me. God bless you! Thank you! with deepest sincerity,

The story that I have to tell is about my son who has had mental illness for 13 years plus.
He was diagnosed with Schizophrenia but in hindsight I think he always had challenges in the area of learning and socialization skills.

After many many years of trial and error, (which in and of itself is another story that I could write many pages about but I will not go there!) we got help from a wonderful Mental Health Nurse and several doctors that by this time knew who I was and what was going on.

My son, finally on the right medication and on extended leave from the hospital is doing much better.
The changes I have witnessed were miraculous and he even seems happy. Happy, in that he is not tormented by his illness.

The happiness for myself and my family was like a blessing from above.

However, watching and waiting for “the other shoe to fall” has taken some time to get over.

I am getting used to taking one day at a time and being contented with that.

I have since learned that wellness may not be on the cards for ever; we may need to address this again.

My son still faces challenges in the area of social skills and appropriate behaviour; despite this, we can celebrate some successes: he is trying to live on his own without supervision, he is working- in fact he is a hard worker.

I recognize that the stress of work and feelings of isolation are a reality for him but we celebrate his wellness and take things one day at a time.

There is no doubt in my mind that without the help of my son’s Mental Health Nurse we would never have made this kind of progress. I believe that our family may well have exploded into pieces -each going their own separate ways and who knows what would have happened to my son.

I can not tell you how grateful I am for her compassion and understanding for him and for me.

Shawna D

One cannot express how important this funding has been to me for the last year. Living and dealing with someone with a mental illness is very draining and having to deal with mental health on top of everything, is just plain crazy. Yes I have the support of family and friends but I need time for ME. Being able to go away and be “reborn” so to speak, and not have to worry about what such and such is going to cost, is a blessing. I get excited thinking of where I could go next without having to worry about a bill in the mail. After going away I feel better, less agitated and feel healthier. Having this funding is one of the best things offered to me in a long time and to have this taken away, would be a terrible loss.

Yours sincerely

Sharee W.

I am the mother of a 35 year old whom my husband and I have been supporting for the past 4 years. Until the age of 30 she had a very successful, fun filled life with lots of friends. She had been living in another country in the midst of another language which brought many stresses upon her. This led to severe mood swings-from the “top of the world” where nothing was impossible for her, with racing thoughts and ideas but she was not able to stay focused to carry them out.

Then she would fall into the pit of severe depression and isolate herself from everyone and everything. We are very thankful for BCSS where we found great comfort from other family members who attended the monthly support meetings–until this point we had no idea where to go for help.

Here we found out about and attended the “Strengthening Families Together” classes which gave us a much better understanding of the different types of mental illness and how to best communicate with our ill loved one. However we have been desperately trying to get her to go for help–we even tried a family intervention but with no luck.

I write this to encourage any supporters whom this story may sound familiar to–DO NOT GIVE UP! We have finally just got her to the Mental Health Office-she is now seeing a counsellor there and a psychiatrist and has allowed me to sit in on her sessions. YOU JUST NEVER KNOW WHEN THE TIME MIGHT BE RIGHT!

We are so thankful for this answer to our many prayers–so thankful for the wonderful, compassionate counsellor and psychiatrist as we all work together–it’s small steps but they are in the right direction.

The support group and “Strengthening Families Together” course are so worthwhile and I strongly recommend them! It’s been a long journey but for the first time we feel there is hope for our dear daughter.

Thank you to all those who have helped us along the way–Mental Health staff, family members, the support group and the volunteers who so capably led us in the “Strengthening Families Together” course.

I’m sure there will still be many ups and downs but we know we are not alone and there is help out there. We have learned a lot along the way and am so pleased to be able to be a part of it as I know how important it is to have family involvement and input.

From grateful parents.

More information on the Respite program is here.