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Forging Links. Forging Links - between providers of Mental Health services and Family members/Consumers. Background. NAMI of Greater Chicago has provided the Family to Family Education Program since 1995.

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forging links

Forging Links

Forging Links - between providers of Mental Health services and Family members/Consumers

  • NAMI of Greater Chicago has provided the Family to Family Education Program since 1995.
  • Consumer members requested a similar program. We developed our Pathways in Living Consumer Education Program in 2003.
  • After years in the planning stage, Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for Chicago’s experienced police officers was initiated in 2004.
who was left out
Who was left out?
  • Family Education
  • Consumer Education
  • Law Enforcement Training
  • Providers
why and what
Why and What?
  • Need for an educational program for providers
    • Many complaints about providers insensitivity to the needs of consumers and family members.
  • Desire to develop a meaningful program
    • financially do-able and
    • time-effective.
  • Focus Groups
    • Consumers and Family Members
    • CEOs of Provider Agencies
    • Individual in-person interviews with consumers
  • Evaluation of the results of Focus Groups
    • Themes emerged
themes from focus groups
Themes from Focus Groups

Key concerns about providers from consumers and family members

  • Lack of empathy
  • Negative attitudes toward families—that they are interfering, or blaming families for the illness
  • Not acknowledging the importance of the role of families in recovery
  • Not including families in treatment and intervention planning (with consumers’ permission)
  • Not including families in recovery goals (with consumers’ permission)
  • Lack of knowledge about past history
  • Too directive, focusing on limitations rather than strengths
  • Individualized approach is lost over time
  • Interventions grow more constricting, rather than holistic
  • Lack of transition plan for staffing changes
  • Lack of validation for medical complaints
  • Need Crisis Management / Prevention Plans

Key concerns about patterns of care:

  • Lack of empathy – difficulty understanding client(s):
  • Difficulty allowing consumers to make their own choices including allowing them to fail and be there afterwards
  • Lack of knowledge / understanding of symptoms of illness
  • Difficulty maintaining positive, hopeful, encouraging therapeutic relationship over time
  • Not understanding problems they as staff cause the consumer
  • Care becomes routine not individualized
Providers’ Strengths – rating of 7.8 out of 10
  • Compassionate
  • Creative
  • Individualized care
  • Non-Blaming
  • Knowledgeable about illness
  • Recovery-focused, interactive planning involving consumer and family
  • Relationship with consumer is more than just a job or a routine
curriculum development
Curriculum Development
  • The repeatedly expressed value of personal stories by participants in our
    • Family to Family classes
    • Pathways in Living Consumer classes
    • CIT police education classes
  • Structured the curriculum around two hours of personal stories
    • Consumer panel
    • Family panel
curriculum brief overview
Curriculum-Brief overview
  • Consumer and family panels
  • Overview of NAMI of Greater Chicago’s programs & services
  • Verbal and nonverbal skills for engaging clients in recovery
  • Experiential exercise
  • IL Treatment Declaration form
  • 10 Phases of family adaptation to mental illness
  • Crisis prevention and de-escalation techniques

Steps to Implement “Forging Links” Program

1. Plan the Agenda

  • Topics covered
  • Time when panel members will speak

2. Recruitment of speakers

  • 3 Family members + 3 Consumers
    • Let them know of schedule-time they’re needed
  • Recruit speakers to present materials (IL Treatment Declaration Form, engaging clients in recovery, crisis de-escalation techniques)
3 optional ceus
3. Optional CEUs
  • Contact local Universities, or NASW to provide CEUs (Continuing Education Units) to attendees
    • Procedures will vary (may need bios of speakers, full disclosures, objectives)
4 food
4. Food
  • Recruit local restaurant or pharmaceutical company to donate lunch
5 agency invites
5. Agency invites
  • Draft agency invites with registration form and a flier detailing the program
    • Deadline for registration
    • Cost of registration and CEU
6 print gather materials
6. Print/Gather Materials
  • Gather materials to pass out
    • Copies of power points
    • Evaluation forms
    • Pamphlets
    • Resources
    • …..
7 reminders
7. Reminders
  • Make reminder calls to speakers and panel members 1 week before event
conducting the program the exercise
Conducting the programThe exercise
  • Partner with person next to you
  • One-Eyes closed
  • One-Talking
  • What did you feel? Could you tell if they were listening?
evaluating the program
Evaluating the program
  • Develop an evaluation form
    • Ask questions regarding…
      • Overall content
      • Speakers presentations
      • Panel members
  • Improvement of program
  • Grant writing
    • “It was very informative to hear the first hand experiences from the panel members. The personal experiences were priceless!”
    • “I will pay more attention to suicidal flags and advocate for consumers.”

Alicia Palmer

Clinical Intern


Suzanne Andriukaitis, M.A., LCSW

Executive Director