|dc.description.abstract||This dissertation reflects on the historical impact of mental illness on family/whānau, the deinstitutionalisation of mental health hospitals and their replacement by assertive community treatment, and the integration of people who suffer from mental illness back into society or, as often was the case, to their family/whānau who now occupied a central carer role. This shift in care ideology ushered in challenges for family/whānau as they sought for support to be seen, heard, and included in the care process for their relatives or friends when receiving services from the mental health system.
The community organisation, Supporting Families in Mental Illness (SFMI), assists family/whānau so that they can cope with the stress of their experiences, as well as increasing their ability to care for their relative or friend who has a mental illness. This study explored the experience of families/whānau as they came to grips with the mental illness of their relative or friend, and their evaluation of the effectiveness the various services of SFMI. In order to study the services being provided, eighteen clients of SFMI were interviewed.
The research showed that mental illness of family member had a powerful impact on families. This included initial challenges in getting information about mental illness, diagnosis, mental health services and support strategies, considerable levels of stress were suffered by these families and whānau, financially, emotionally and often physically, with violence occurring.
Participants also indicated that strongly positive assistance was received from SFMI particularly in relation to counselling services, face-to-face and telephone support services and information services. Although highly positive overall, there some areas of concern around support for diagnoses other than schizophrenia, for non-parent family members, and the effectiveness of the SFMI website.||en_NZ