Family mental health support program to launch in Alberton
Designed to 'support and educate and equip' loved ones to help with mental illness
For the first time, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) on Prince Edward Island is taking its eight-week family support program to West Prince.
The support program, called Finding Hope and Building Strength, starts Sept. 26 in Alberton, P.E.I., and will run from 7 to 9 p.m. for eight Wednesday nights.
Paige Boutilier, a housing support worker with the CMHA, says the program is designed to "support and educate and equip individuals who have a loved one with a mental illness."
CMHA previously offered this program in Charlottetown and Summerside.
It begins with an overview of various mental disorders and diagnoses and how to understand each, Boutilier said.
"Then we go into how to support your loved one who has one of these diagnoses or is living with mental illness."
A pharmacist will spend time talking about common medications used for mental illness and answer questions.
'Very supportive environment'
People often want to help their loved ones with their mental health but they don't know how, Boutilier said. The program will help with that.
People who attended the program in Summerside said it was good to know they weren't alone, Boutilier said.
"They could go to a safe place and learn about how best to cope with things," she said. "It's a very supportive environment for everybody to be able to talk and learn about different tools they can use to help support people."
'I can cope with it'
The program also stresses that you have to take care of yourself to be able to help someone else, and addresses burnout issues, Boutilier said.
"The mantra for the program is, 'I didn't cause it, I can't change it, I can't control it but I can cope with it.'"
There's no limit on the number of people who can attend the program and it is free. To register, contact Boutilier at (902) 960-0508 or by email at email@example.com
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With files from Laura Chapin