Strengthening Families Together – First Nations Program

Our Story Our Journey Our Strength

Welcome to the British Columbia Schizophrenia Society Strengthening Families Together Program-First Nations. This is a pilot project in it’s second year.

Strengthening Families Together-First Nations is about more than education; it is about strengthening family members and friends of individuals with a serious mental illness by providing support, awareness, and tools in a culturally safe environment. It’s about sharing our family stories, walking the journey together and moving forward with renewed strength, hope and understanding.

Support: Families have an opportunity to share the daily challenges they face; they can learn how to connect with others and gain a sense of belonging within the group; they learn from each other that they are not alone on this journey.

Awareness: Families gain access to reliable and consistent information about mental illness and mental health services; they also develop an understanding of recovery and of the impact of stigma.

Tools: Families are equipped with problem solving, coping, advocacy, and communication skills.

Cultural Safety: Facilitators are trained family members from the community with lived experience. The program is adaptable for traditional cultural practices to be included and honored. Elders are encouraged to participate at any capacity depending upon the community.

The family can play a significant role in promoting the recovery of their family member. But, in order to do so, the family too requires education, support, and inclusion in the therapeutic process.

This program is an education and advocacy program, one that helps family and/or friends become a personal advocate for their loved one. Learning to be a strategic personal advocate is key to navigating the mental health system, ensuring access to programs, services and supports.

This program was revised by the BC Schizophrenia Society (BCSS) and is offered to First Nations and aboriginal people across the province. The course is offered, at no cost to facilitators or participants. All BCSS programs are supported by individual donations; corporate, foundation or government grants; and sponsorships. Under no circumstances will participants pay for this course. BCSS does allow for participants to make a donation to the Foundation.

More Information and Resources

Developed in partnership with financial support from:

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