June 09, 2005

Family Education Programs

Family Interventions for Schizophrenia: An International View

When a member of the family is diagnosed with schizophrenia, the family is often left in a state of confusion and shock. A new article discusses this situation and considers, "what (...)families want," when it occurs."Interviews with relatives and surveys show (...) that family members want information about the mental illness so they can cope better and know what to expect. They want to know specifics about medication, psychosocial treatments, housing options and social supports. They want to know how to obtain the best treatment possible and what they can do to help and not interfere with treatment. Until the 1980s, this information was rarely available. However, several programs to help families have been developed."

"One program directly aimed at providing the information that families need is family education (FE). It is relatively brief, not more than two dozen sessions over as many weeks, and the patient is not included in the sessions with the family. The courses cover information about serious mental illnesses (including causes and treatment), helpful tips for the management of angeror sadness, and principles of rehabilitation. In 1990, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) implemented FE in the form of the Family-to-Family Education Program in local chapters throughout the United States. As NAMI members receive training and become trainers themselves, there is no need to rely on mental health care professionals for this task. This decision has had favorable results in increasing knowledge about serious mental illness; and Family-to-Family has reached thousands across the country. Effectiveness has been demonstrated with clinical trials, but the results have been limited to showing an increase in knowledge about serious mental illness and sometimes an increase in a sense of self-efficacy, but there has been no impact on relapse rates."

Despite this, international studies of family psychoeducation (FPE) have shown that relapse can in fact be lowered. Examples of such studies include: "Montero et al. (2001) (where it was) found that FPE was acceptable to families in Spain and relapse rates were low." And "...Wiedemann et al. (in Germany) (2001) used FPE with patients who received either standard-dose antipsychotic medication or targeted medication. At 18-month follow-up, only 4% of patients who had received standard medication had relapsed, compared with 35% of the targeted medication group."

The article concludes by stating, "mental health care professionals need to be more aware of the burden of mental illness on family members and act to alleviate it."

Original Story: Psychiatric Times:

To learn more about NAMI's Family Education Program

To learn more about relapse in Schizophrenia:


Thanks for information on this page, I personally think that one should gain as much information and knowledge as possible on this topic. Here is another page that may be of interest to some, it’s all about this subject of family education, check it here http://www.parenting-education-rights.com/Family-Education.php

Posted by: Michael M at May 11, 2007 06:51 AM

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