You are not alone

The Glengarry News - - Health Beauty Fitness Nutrition -

The Corn­wall and Dis­trict Fam­ily Sup­port Group is part­ner­ing with the Hôpi­tal Glen­garry Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal in Alexandria to ex­plore the pos­si­bil­ity of host­ing a monthly peer-led meet­ing for fam­ily care­givers. The aim is to help fam­i­lies with a loved one deal­ing with a se­ri­ous men­tal ill­ness.

“Re­search has shown that fam­ily care­givers can make a big dif­fer­ence in the re­cov­ery process,” says James Joyce, a fa­cil­i­ta­tor with the all-vol­un­teer or­ga­ni­za­tion. “How­ever, it’s of­ten hard for them to know what ap­proach works best. That’s where peer sup­port groups like this can re­ally have a pos­i­tive im­pact.”

The sup­port group has been hold­ing meet­ings in Corn­wall for fam­ily care­givers for over a decade. Over the years, meet­ings and fam­ily-to-fam­ily ed­u­ca­tion cour­ses have helped hun­dreds of care­givers from all across the re­gion. The key mes­sage that the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s web site, Lis­tenToFam­i­lies.ca, stresses is that fam­i­lies are not alone. “A sup­port group like ours lets care­givers un­bur­den them­selves among peo­ple who un­der­stand,” says Mr. Joyce. “By shar­ing our ups and downs and tak­ing strength from each other, we all learn how to bet­ter cope with the ‘roller coaster’ of men­tal ill­ness.”This wel­come ini­tia­tive has the full sup­port of the hos­pi­tal’s man­age­ment team. “By en­cour­ag­ing ini­tia­tives like this, we push back at the stigma that has sur­rounded men­tal health is­sues for so long,” says Louise Quen­neville, Project Man­age­ment Lead at the Alexandria hos­pi­tal. “It also helps fam­i­lies gain some con­trol over what can be an oth­er­wise chaotic life ex­pe­ri­ence.” In ad­di­tion to pro­vid­ing meet­ing room space, the hos­pi­tal is of­fer­ing par­tic­i­pants free park­ing as well.

Fam­ily care­givers with a loved one suf­fer­ing from schizophre­nia, bipo­lar, clin­i­cal de­pres­sion, bor­der­line per­son­al­ity or other se­ri­ous men­tal ill­nesses are asked to con­tact the sup­port group at 613-527-1201. If there’s enough in­ter­est, a group might start as early as June.

For more in­for­ma­tion, call James Joyce at 613-5271201 or Louise Quen­neville at (613) 525-2222, ext. 4112.

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