Family Support

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Supportive families are essential to a person’s recovery from mental illness and substance use problems. Family members can include spouses, mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbours, co-workers, partners and so on – anyone who truly cares about you.

Family members can provide you with emotional support, notice changes in you, help you navigate health services, help with medications, appointments and treatments, and more.

The following is a list of support services to help strengthen families to support their loved one who is living with a mental illness and some additional services for families dealing with substance use issues, beyond what community substance use services provide:

Family Support Team

Provides individual support and guidance for family and natural supports of a person living with a mental illness/substance use issue. Natural supports are people who have a close, caring relationship to a person living with a mental illness/substance use issue, such as a friend, roommate, co-worker or neighbour.

How do I access this service? 

Call 1-833-898-6200 to speak to the Family Support Team.

Meet and Greet Service

Provides support for families and friends who are visiting a loved one in an Inpatient Psychiatric Unit (IPU) in the hospital.  A family member with experience in supporting a loved one with mental health challenges is available to talk with you in a private confidential setting.They provide emotional support, encouragement, hope and information about resources.

How do I access this service?

Peer Family Support Workers are available during bi-weekly Meet and Greet sessions at some of our hospital Inpatient Psychiatric Units to meet with family and friends of loved ones who have been admitted. Please see Meet and Greet Service schedule below for meeting days, times and locations. Call 1-833-898-6200 for more information.

Location When

Burnaby
Burnaby Hospital Meet and Greet Service
Inpatient Psychiatric Unit, 3rd floor
3935 Kincaid Street, Burnaby, B.C.

6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
2nd and 4th Wednesday every month

Maple Ridge
Ridge Meadows Hospital Meet and Greet Service     
Inpatient Psychiatryric Unit, Kanaka Wing
11666 Laity Street, Maple Ridge, B.C.

6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
1st and 3rd Thursday every month

New Westminster
Royal Columbian Hospital Meet and Greet
Inpatient Psychiatric Units SC1 and SC2, Sherbrooke Building
330 E Columbia St, New Westminster, B.C.

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
2nd and 4th Thursday every month

Friends and Natural Supports Support Groups

If you are a family member of friend of a of a person impacted by mental health or substance use concerns, we invite you to our Friends and Natural Supports Support Groups. These groups are intended to offer a safe supportive space where family and friends can come together and be inspired by hope, empowered with understanding, supported by peers, and encouraged with growth.

When a loved one is diagnosed with a mental health issue, or dealing with a substance use issue, it can be an extremely stressful time.  It is common for people to experience a range of emotions, and have questions such as:  

  • Treatment options
  • Medication
  • Course of recovery
  • Available resources
  • Decision-making
  • How do I support my loved one?
  • How do I take care of myself? 

How do I access this service?

Please call the Family Support Services Program at 1-833-898-6200 for more information.

Location When

Abbotsford
Abbotsford Mental Health Centre
#11 - 32700 George Ferguson Way, Abbotsford, B.C.

6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
1st Wednesday every month
Burnaby
Burnaby Hospital
Mental Health Outpatient Clinic, Group Room
3935 Kincaid Street, Burnaby, BC
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
1st Wednesday every month
Chilliwack
Chilliwack General Hospital 
Riverstone Daytox Group Room beside the Inpatient Psychiatry Unit 
45600 Menholm Roadd, Chilliwack, B.C.
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
2nd Wednesday every month
Hope
Fraser Canyon Hospital
Downstairs large conference room
1275 7 Avenue, Hope, B.C.

6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
3rd Wednesday every month

Maple Ridge
Ridge Meadows Hospital
Room 125 – beside the Inpatient Psychiatry Unit - Kanaka Wing 
11666 Laity St, Maple Ridge, B.C.
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
3rd Wednesday every month
New Westminster
Royal Columbian Hospital
Sherbrooke Building, Main Floor Lounge (beside the elevator) 
330 East Columbia Street, New Westminster, B.C.
6:00 – 7:30 p.m 
4th Wednesday every month  
Surrey
New Frontier Clubhouse
9803 140 Street, Surrey, B.C.
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
1st Thursday every month 

Family Respite Services

Offers short-term, temporary care designed to provide a much-needed break or support to families and caregivers supporting a loved one recovering from a mental illness. Examples of how some families have used respite services:

  • Daily breaks from care-giving through planned outings or through home visits to the person who is ill
  • Extended scheduled breaks for the caregiver including a planned weekend away or a regular vacation
  • Finding a suitable companion for a loved one or connecting them to a community resource, a new hobby or exercise program

Eligibility criteria

An individual or family is eligible for Family Respite Service if they meet the following criteria:

  • They are considered to be a primary support to a friend or family member who is over 18 years of age and experiencing a mental illness
  • They are not being paid for the services they provide
  • They require relief from their care-giving responsibilities

Funding

Up to $500 is available per family depending on available funds.

How do I access this service?

To access Family Respite Services, please contact 1-833-898-6200. A member of the Family Support Team can meet with you to help develop an individualized respite plan.

Mental Health and Substance Use Family and Natural Supports Education

To help family and natural supports learn more about their loved one’s mental illness or substance use issue and how they can support them, we offer two educational programs:

  • Navigating the Mental Health and Substance Use System Information Sessions: single sessions 
  • Family Education Series: 10-week learning sessions

Navigating the Mental Health and Substance Use System Information Sessions

These events provide family and natural supports with information about Fraser Health’s Mental Health and Substance Use services. Topics included are: sharing of client information and confidentiality, how to be involved in your loved one’s discharge/recovery plan, and the role of psychiatrists in your loved one’s care.

How do I access this service?

Call 1-833-898-6200 to register for a Navigating the Mental Health and Substance Use System Information Session nearest you.

There are two Navigating the system sessions slated for April 25 and June 20, in Langley from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

There is also a Navigating the System session at Burnaby Hospital, on Thursday May 3 from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Family Education Series

The Family Education Series is a 10-week learning series available to anyone who wants to learn more about mental illness, recovery and how best to support a loved one with mental health and/or substance use issues.

You can choose to attend all 10 sessions or any individual sessions.

Module 1 - Communication in Recovery

  • Communication and Recovery
  • Communication and Emotions
  • Communication and Problem Solving

Module 2 - Diagnoses. Mental Health and Recovery

  • Understanding Diagnosis & Recovery
  • Understanding Mood & Thought Disorders
  • Understanding Mental Health, Brain, and Behaviour

Module 3 - Recovery for Family and Natural Supports

  • Self-Care
  • It’s Your Recovery Too
  • Letting Go of Stress
  • Learn about the Family Wellness Recovery Plan

How do I access this service?

Call 1-833-898-6200 to register for a Family and Friends Education Series in your area.

There is currently a Family Education Series running at Abbotsford Mental Health, 32700 George Ferguson Way.

Education Modules

Module Two:

  • Understanding Diagnosis and Recovery – March 29
  • Understanding Mood and thought Disorders –April 5
  • Understanding Mental Health, Brain and behaviour– April 12

Module Three:

  • Self-Care – April 19
  • It’s Your Recovery Too – April 26
  • Letting go of Stress – May 3
  • Learn about the Family Wellness Resource Plan – May 10

Please call Monica, Clinical Counsellor, Family Support Services Program, Mental Health and Substance Use at 778-241-6582 for more information.

There is currently a Family Education Series running in Langley Wednesday evenings from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Call 1-833-898-6200 number to register and for location details.

  • Module 1 – May 2 - 23
  • Module 2 – May 30 - June 13
  • Module 3 – June 27 - July 11

There is currently a Family Education Series running at Burnaby Hospital Thursday evenings from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

  • Module 2: April 12 – 26
  • Module 3 – May 10 – 24

Resources

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