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Family Member and Friends Programme

What is the EOLAS programme?

EOLAS is a Mental Health Information and Learning Programme for families and close friends of service users with a diagnosis of schizophrenia spectrum or bipolar disorders. EOLAS also provides a programme for service users. The focus of each EOLAS programme is on the promotion of recovery.

The delivery of the EOLAS Programme for family and friends is unique. It provides information through family members and clinicians working together using knowledge gained by lived experience and clinical expertise. To ensure that EOLAS is meeting people’s needs each programme is evaluated.

What family member participants have told us about the benefits of attending EOLAS:

  • Gives improved confidence in care giving
  • Increases knowledge/understanding of mental health issues
  • Increases knowledge of services provided by the mental health team
  • Increases knowledge of managing relapse prevention
  • Increases awareness of self care
  • Increases hopefulness
  • An important source of emotional support
  • Increases confidence for self advocacy
  • Improved relationships with family member diagnosed with psychosis

Structure of the EOLAS Programme

  • The programme is run over 8 weeks
  • Each session is of 90 minutes duration and allows time for discussion and questions
  • Different topics are covered each week with guest speakers for a number of sessions
  • Each programme is delivered by two co-facilitators one of whom is a family member and the other is a clinician
  • You will be provided with a manual containing a summary of all information that is discussed during the session

PROMOTING MUTUAL & PEER SUPPORT

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Week 1

Introduction to EOLAS

The aim of this module is to explain about the purpose, content and style of the EOLAS programme.

Activities Include:

  • Introductions
  • Overview of the EOLAS programme
  • Agreement on how the group will work together
  • Agreement on how the group will work with a guest speaker
  • A discussion on Who’s who in Mental Health Services
  • Group discussions and activities
  • Recap and introduction to module 2

Week 2

How a diagnosis is made

The aim of this module is to introduce and clarify the diagnostic process to participants and to support participants in developing a broader understanding of the clinical terms associated with making a diagnosis. A guest speaker (usually a Psychiatrist) is invited to explain how a diagnosis is reached and other diagnostic terms.

Activities Include:

  • Group discussion about diagnosis
  • Information on diagnostic procedures delivered by the psychiatrist
  • Question and answer session with psychiatrist
  • Recap and preparation for module 3

Week 3

How Mental illness can affect family and close friends

The purpose of this module is to support participants in exploring how mental health difficulties can affect family members and close friends rather than focussing on the person with mental health problems.

Activities Include:

  • Group discussion of participants experiences of caring for a family member with mental health problems
  • Group Discussion and tips on how to manage the caring role
  • Recap and introduction to module 4

Week 4

Coping and effective communication

The purpose of this module is to look at how mental health problems may affect the person concerned, to help family members and close friends communicate with the person about their experiences and how to cope with them.

Activities Include:

  • Group discussion on persons living with mental health difficulties
  • Group discussion on good communication skills with family member diagnosed with a mental health disorder
  • Group discussion on communicating with the mental health team
  • Recap and introduction to module 5

Week 5

Treatment options and Recovery

The purpose of this module is to support participants in developing an understanding of the different treatment options that can assist recovery from schizophrenia or bipolar disorders. The module focuses primarily on medication treatments for these disorders. A guest speaker ( usually a psychiatrist) will help to deliver the module.

Activities Include:

  • Group discussions on treatment and medication
  • Information on treatment and medication delivered by the psychiatrist
  • Question and answer session with the psychiatrist
  • Recap and introduction to module 6

Week 6

The family in recovery

The purpose of this module is to support the quality of life of all family members by helping participants to identify their individual and family strengths and to identify resources that may be available with in their community to help them cope better.

Activities Include:

  • Group discussion about participants understanding of the terms” Recovery and Family” and identification of support resources in the community
  • Group discussion on managing events and outings with the family member facing mental health difficulties
  • Group discussion on recognising stress indicators
  • Relaxation exercise
  • Discussion on setting up a support group
  • Recap and introduction to module 7

Week 7

Planning for the future

The purpose of this module is to provide participants with information on the longer term issues that can arise for families in supporting their relative. It is usually delivered by a guest speaker such as an Authorised Officer or Social Worker.

Activities Include:

  • Group discussion on issues related to involuntary admissions
  • Presentation by the guest speaker on the key points of the Mental health Act 2001 and the most important issues for family members to be aware of
  • Question and answer session with the guest speaker
  • Group discussion on planning for the future care of the family member diagnosed with a mental disorder in relation to their capacity to manage their affairs
  • Recap and introduction to module 8

Week 8

Advocacy and challenging stigma

The purpose of this module is to give participants an understanding of different models of advocacy with a particular emphasis on self- advocacy. It will introduce the concept of stigma, how it can affect families negatively and will discuss ways of challenging stigma.

Activities Include:

  • Group discussions on different types of advocacy and stigma
  • Group discussion of a case study
  • Recap module 8 review all 7 modules
  • Group discussion on the impact of the EOLAS programme

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