Last week, I was lucky enough to attend part of a four-day Strengthening Families Together – First Nations (SFT-FN) Facilitator Training in Kamloops, B.C. These training sessions provide skills and knowledge to local community members so that they can host SFT-FN sessions in their own communities. They also encourage future facilitators to work together to problem-solve and finds ways to bring these programs into each of their communities.

One common theme that struck me was that despite all the strategies working to fight the myths and stigmas surrounding schizophrenia and severe mental illness, the misperceptions still persist.

After only two days, I could see how crucial our SFT and SFT-FN programs are to communities across B.C. These programs help build communities and support, allowing families to know that they are not alone in their journeys with their loved ones. That even though people are living in different communities, everyone is struggling with the same thing that stems from a lack of understanding.

Myths about schizophrenia and serious mental illness still persist.
Stigma stemming from misunderstanding remains.

By the end of the training, future facilitators will be able to help families share stories and better understand the overall landscape they are facing as they support their loved ones living with schizophrenia.

A huge thank you to all the participants for attending. I also want to thank our Regional Educators for running this training session, your passion and dedication to helping families is inspiring. The most powerful impacts are made possible through the commitment of people like you.

Together, we are all walking the path towards a better future for people living with schizophrenia and other serious mental illness.

I’d also like to thank the Canadian Red Cross for making this initiative is possible.