Educational Programs

“The Family Mental Health Initiative of Simcoe County has given me an opportunity to learn and participate in supporting and being supported by professionals and other families members who are dealing with the same family challenges. Participation in the program helps to answer questions like, What can you do to help your family member and just as important what can we do to help ourselves. We learn about mental illness and recovery. How to set limits and boundaries with your loved one, your family and ourselves. Remember information is power. Information give us the insight to understand that what is happening to our loved one is not personal; it is about an illness that is causing behaviour that is unusual and beyond the control of the affected person. The group acts as a sounding board to discuss all kinds of aspects of dealing with a family member who is suffering from mental illness. I would encourage anyone to REACH OUT rise against the stigma. You do not have to cope by yourself. If you are building a support network you are in a better position to help your loved ones.”    
– Mother

Spaces currently available for the “Family & Friends Connected: Educational Program”

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Program Descriptions
The educational programs walk family caregivers through material on understanding mental illness, addiction, the process of recovery and the lifelong practice of self-management plus much more. The sessions are delivered with a mix of powerpoint slides, video’s and group discussion. The programs are free. Registering in advance to the start of the program is required. Space availability in the programs is limited. To stay informed of family educational programs near you, subscribe here for the #FamilyMatters E-Notice to stay current on all the programs and events for family caregivers.

Oxygen Program:

Burnout Prevention & Sustaining Compassion

What Will I Learn?

  • Apply three principles of resilience that reduce the risk of compassion fatigue, rebuild wellness, and sustain compassion.
  • Recognize the early warning signs of compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout in one’s own life.
  • Practice a five-step self-evaluation process that builds good self-care habits and a commitment to lifelong wellness.
  • Learn a step-by-step method for communicating with people who are ill, injured, isolated, or in distress.
  • Learn how to turn a difficult conversation into a discovery conversation.
  • Identify the three layers of a difficult conversation and find clues to the solution.
  • Recognize the pivotal moments when conversations can turn around.
  • Build strong caregiving partnerships despite the difficulties

Addiction & Mental Health:

A Family Education Program

What Will I Learn?

    • Session 1: What are Concurrent Disorders?
      Will discuss why a person will use a substance or gamble. Learn about the relationship between addictions and mental illness and the impact concurrent disorders has on the family caregiver.
    • Session 2: Substance Use and Mental Health
      Learn the difference between substance abuse and substance dependence, why people develop addiction and learn the types of mental illnesses.
    • Session 3: Impact on the Family and Self-Care
      Learn how addiction and mental illness affects family life, identify behaviour and relationship changes. Prepare a self-care plan for lifelong wellness management.
    • Session 4: Stigma
      Understanding stress and the impact of stress on our physical, emotional and psychological well-being; strategies to manage stress. Discuss stigma, negative attitudes, perspectives and surviving stigma.
    • Session 5: Medication
      This session is about sharing information to learn about the types of psychiatric medications, how they work in the brain and body, about medication management.
    • Session 6: Relapse, Crisis and Recovery
      Learn about relapsing, the science of relapse, risk factors and discuss the difference between crisis and emergencies. Being prepared by creating a crisis plan.

Family & Friends Connected:

Educational Program

What Will I Learn?

  • Session 1: Introduction to the Recovery Approach
    Learn about the recovery approach, elements of recovery, barriers to recovery, and the impact of stigma, shame and guilt to the recovery journey.
  • Session 2: Discovering Hope and the Resiliency Factor
    Discuss the Hope Theory, the importance of hope in recovery and learn how resiliency supports the process of recovery.
  • Session 3: Strength-Based Recovery and the Theory of Motivation
    In this session, participants will learn what is the strength-based approach to recovery, the principles of the approach and identify negative perspectives and attitudes towards people experiencing addiction and mental health difficulties. Discussion about the roles of self-efficacy, self-actualization, and self-determination has on living recovery while reviewing the role habits and routines have in daily recovery.
  • Session 4: Stages of Change and The Change Process
    Learn about the process and stages of change behaviour, why change is difficult, and the strategies used in the decision making process.
  • Session 5: Setting Limits and Healthy Boundaries
    This session teaches the types of boundaries and the importance of creating and maintaining limits and boundaries while addressing the impact of guilt.
  • Session 6: Taking Care of Yourself and Living Well with Stress
    This session focuses on caring for the caregiver; teaches about stress and the impact of stress on the body. This session also covers material on coping and communication.


*These programs are not group therapy; the programs are information sharing for a learning opportunity.

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