REPRESENTATIVES of the North Shore Schizophrenia Society recently announced the creation of the Responsiveness to Families Award to be given to a health care provider with a proven track record of working together with families of those with a mental illness.
According to a press release, the society is now accepting nominations from family members.
The North Shore Schizophrenia Society has long advocated for the inclusion of families as an integral part of the treatment team. Family involvement produces better outcomes for people with serious mental illnesses, including higher functioning, improved family well-being, and lower rates of relapse and suicide. Health care professionals who communicate with families and work with them as members of the treatment team are helping their patient, the family, and the entire team, as well as following best practises.
Families can provide essential background information and describe behaviours and recent changes, critical for optimum diagnosis and follow-up. Their knowledge and experience provides details doctors, nurses and other providers wouldn't otherwise have.
They often provide a home and other personal support to people being released from acute psychiatric care. And yet, despite their expertise, families are often excluded.
The society advocates for responsiveness to families to help permanently change the culture of some mental health services where families are not yet recognized as valuable members of the treatment team. It is representatives' hope that the winners of this award, as champions for family involvement in their own work, will help accelerate this change in their colleagues.
Deadline for applications will be Feb. 15. For nomination criteria and rules, visit northshoreschizophrenia.org/nominations.htm.