Family Mental Health Peer Support at HGMH
The Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital (HGMH) in Alexandria announced today that the hospital is partnering with the Cornwall & District Family Support Group to explore the possibility of hosting a monthly peer-led meeting for family caregivers.
The group get-togethers would be intended for families with a loved one dealing with a serious mental illness. "Research has shown that support from family can make a big difference," says Ms. Quenneville. "However, it's often hard for family caregivers to know what approach works best. That's where peer support groups can make a huge difference."
The Cornwall & District Family Support Group has been holding meetings for family caregivers in Cornwall for over a decade. Over the years, their support groups 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 group facilitator James 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 top management team. "By encouraging groups like this, we push back at the stigma that has surrounded mental health issues for so long," says Linda Morrow, the hospital's Chief Executive Officer. "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 also offering participants free parking.
Family caregivers with a loved one suffering from schizophrenia, bipolar, clinical depression, borderline personality or other serious mental illnesses are asked to contact the Cornwall & District Family Support Group at 613-527-1201. If there's enough interest, a group might start as early as June.
For more information, James Joyce from the Cornwall & District Family Support Group at 613-527-1201.