Hope + Me MDAO has observed that family members are concerned with building and sustaining strong, loving relationships and figuring out how to care for their loved one in need.
In an ongoing study (Davis-Groves et al., 2007) of parent peer support and children with mental illness, it has been identified that parent support offers essential benefits to not only the parents but the entire family as a whole. Some of those key benefits include better outcomes for the individual, improved identification and efficiency of best services for families, and improved caregiving strategies.
MDAO Family-Recovery Programs were developed out of an extensive needs assessment that revealed strong support for additional services directed towards family members and caregivers with complex mental health needs and challenges. It was identified that while family members and caregivers are essential to the support team when addressing the needs of a loved one with mental health and addiction challenges, very often family members become in need of services and supports themselves. Programs centered on family members thus facilitates informed decision-making by providing them appropriate skills, knowledge, and system navigation support.
In 2016, we introduced our collaborative care model in partnership with Sunnybrook Hospital to enhance our clinical support for clients and families. We were able to support and manage more complex patients through team-based care by embedding a psychiatric consultant within MDAO once a week to remove barriers for clients and families who would not seek treatment in a hospital setting nor had access to a psychiatrist. It allowed the psychiatry resident to influence the quality of care for families in a non-psychiatric setting; which was invaluable.