This past fall, through funding from the First Nations Health Authority, BC Schizophrenia Society Interior Regional Team was able to host community based Strengthening Families Together – First Nations (SFT-FN) programming in their region.
At the end of the course, all the participants were thankful for the facilitators, the information, and each other. Highlights included special guest speakers, sharing food, laughter, tears, and above all a strengthened sense of community.
The final night was a night of celebration. Elder Cynthia Ward opened the evening with a heartwarming prayer, followed by a feast of Greek food, drumming, singing, smudging, and a sharing circle. To reflect that the group of participants gained as much support from each other as they did from the facilitators, each participant had the opportunity to bestow a certificate along with a few words of recognition to another participant in the group. This created a very emotional experience for the group and recognizing that everyone was in this journey together.
“This program was wonderful, and I’m very grateful to have been able to participate. Big thank yous to everyone involved with making this program possible!”Recent Graduate of SFT-FN
Secwepemc Child and Family Services, who have now hosted two internal SFT-FN programs, will be hosting a Family Support Group starting in January, and will be inviting people from previous SFT-FN groups to participate. This program represents a vital way for family members and caregivers in Indigenous communities to gain connection, support, and understanding as they navigate the turbulent waters of serious mental illness.