Walking through the storm side-by-side with family members whose relatives are having mental illness.
If your loved ones are found to be suffering from mental illness, how are you going to face it?
"Knowing how to respect them, accept the fact that they are sick and move on, and at the same time, love and cheer the people around you…" Ms. YIU Lai-fong, one of the founding members of Family Network, which is a self-help group for families organised by the family members/carers of the Association’s service users, comes up with the perfect answer.
Ms. Yiu’s younger brother is a person with mental illness. Despite the fact that the path of recovery from mental illness is destined to be a tough and less-than-rewarding one, Ms. Yiu was determined to walk with her brother through the valley of darkness. With the care and support of family members, social workers and medical professionals, her brother made his recovery eventually and was able to regain his self-esteem, self-confidence and rejoin the workforce. These are all important factors that help people suffering from mental illness to recover. Having himself tasted the loving kindness from family members, Ms. Yiu’s brother encouraged her to join "Family Network” to support and help other fellow service users and family members to establish mutual support among themselves, thereby to weather the storms together.
Pain may not just bring grief and groan alone. It may also bring us the opportunities for growth and reflection on life - that’s what Ms. Yiu has learned since she joined Family Network as one of the committee members. Misfortune is sometimes the best trainer in life, teaching us the meaning of "living here and now”. And we all need to learn the simple truth that life is not perfect. In times of troubles, the most effective way to reclaim respect and the right to a better life, as Ms Yiu believes, is to persevere with passion and faith and be an encouragement to the family. The positive and optimistic attitudes of Ms. Yiu made her the candle in her family, light them up while struggling through the dark moments together. Such positive attitudes have also encouraged other members to walk together with their beloved family members with mental illness in the journey of recovery with courage and become an inspiration to others.
Both the families’ and carers’ participation and support are essential in the recovery journey for people with lived experiences of mental illness. Sponsored by the Community Chest since 2011, New Life Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association has established the Family Support Service to build up a holistic support network among the carers to support them to face the challenges with a positive mindset and to maintain family functions.
We build up strengths together
We aim to facilitate the families to build up a mutual support network through various activities and training programs. The service provides a platform where families share the joy and difficulties in the process of caring and supporting family members in recovery of mental illness. It also enhances family members to utilize their strengths, care about each other and grow together.
Psychoe ducation: Mental Health Courses and Talks
A series of courses, talks and workshops are designed to enhance the families’ knowledge on mental health and recovery. In addition, we facilitate two-way communication and understanding between people in recovery and their family members.
Network: Developmental Activities and Family Gatherings
We organize various interest groups and activities for families to have fun and attain wellness. These provide them with opportunities to build up their peer support network to achieve mutual help and "holistic well-being”.
Community Participation: Volunteer and Leadership Training
We motivate families to voice out their opinions, and go into the community to participate in social services, mental health public education and advocacy. They can utilize their strengths, actualize their ideas and motivate the public to eliminate discrimination against people in recovery.
We share experience together
Family members, relatives, friends and carers of people in recovery of mental illness
Saturday: Activities / Outdoor work
Sunday and Public Holiday: Off