Building a Future

Well Ways is a family education program – that is, a group-based education and support program for families of people with mental illness. The Program is a non-clinical approach to the many complex issues faced by families of people with a mental illness. It provides practical information regarding mental illnesses and mental health services that assist families in their role, and supports participants to develop effective strategies for caring for their relatives, themselves and other family members.

The program utilises multimedia and group work to:

  • deliver up-to-date information about mental illnesses, medication, the mental health system and carer support systems;
  • support participants to examine some of the complex emotional and practical issues involved in providing care to a family member with mental illness;
  • develop ongoing support mechanisms and access to information.

The program is conducted over a 12 month period in three distinct phases:

Phase one – Engagement Phase. This is the initial contact phase with a potential Program participant and is designed around establishing rapport, assessing and addressing immediate need, assessing suitability for joining the Well Ways Program and providing information, booking details and evaluation information.

Phase two – Development Phase. This intensive, highly structured, eight session component of the Program is peer delivered and aims to increase participants’ knowledge of mental illness, develop social networks and problem solving skills, and provide the beginnings of conceptual frameworks within which to think about some of the dilemmas faced by the families of people with mental illness.

Phase three – Consolidation Phase. This phase aims to further develop participants’ skills in some of the more pertinent or important aspects of the Program covered in the Development Phase. At the same time, the structure is such that the group is encouraged to have social contact in between sessions to strengthen social networks and provide support for the ongoing journey.

This is a peer to peer program and family members are trained to deliver this program as well as Carer Advocates. Facilitators are accredited to present the Program through a comprehensive training and process that is designed to utilise their experience and enhance their skills. The program sits within an evaluation framework in which, whilst not compulsory, participants are requested to participate.