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The other evening, I saw a commercial for UNICEF saying that no parent should watch their child suffer and they are right but the parents of those with serious mental illness do that every day while they struggle to help their adult children in an environment that often disdains families.
As we became a young adult, our relationship to our parents became different. We still turned to our parents, but more for guidance and support. Never did we imagine or expect that one day we would be the parent to our parent. When did it happen? When was the shift? Now we are the ones in the "worry seat."
A landmark international survey has concluded that families caring for people with schizophrenia are at a breaking point. The ongoing survey is being conducted by EUFAMI, a European-based association of organizations supporting families coping with severe mental illnesses.
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Many Canadians are in need of mobility options. I work in the community with a lot of seniors, but it is not strictly seniors that need assistance. With many individuals struggling within their own homes, it's refreshing to see the selection and level of innovation. Such is the newly opened the ReliAble Living Centre.
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Frustrated with the mental health care system's failure to involve families of those with serious mental illness, a Richmond Hill Ontario mother filed a discrimination complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission against two local health authorities. And while she did not win her argument, she feels that she did win a moral victory.
Planning for the future presents serious problems for parents of people with significant disabilities; when those families are dealing with psychotic illnesses, the future is especially frightening. While it is impossible to deny that progress is being made, the simple fact is that our world, as it stands, has little desire to label people with mental illness as anything but crazy and dangerous.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has released its new guidelines for involving families in the mental health system. Since family caregivers for people with psychotic disorders often supply the majority of mental health support, these efforts to create a more family friendly mental health system represent a huge step forward.
Since my daughter experienced her first psychotic break while still a young teenager, she missed the kinds of gradual steps others get to take in developing work skills. Fortunately for her, Vancouver has an agency focused on helping people living with mental illnesses. But its funding might be cut back.
It's ironic that at a mental health conference regarding anti-stigmatization, there should be a group of panelists who offer the most stigmatizing collection of ideas about families coping with mental illness. What's most distressing is that they advocate the cessation of the use of medicine and family support.