Families as Partners in Care

To join with families, consumers, and mental health professionals in the promotion of best practice in mental health service delivery, based on evidence from research by experts.

To influence psychiatric professionals, social workers, occupational therapists and other mental health workers in providing best-practice services.

To help professionals recognize the value of working with families towards a better quality of life for patients (consumers), better functioning, and ultimately, recovery.

To encourage families to recognize the benefits to the patient of their involvement with professionals caring for their relative.

The Program

A strategy to promote the inclusion of families in the treatment team was developed by a WFSAD group of family leaders and clinical experts in New Zealand in 1997. These included Prof. Ian R.H. Falloon, Prof. Julian Leff and Prof. Wm. McFarlane, as well as family leaders Dr. Margaret Leggatt, Diane Froggatt, Dr. Radha Shankar, Jim Crowe, Dr. Dale L. Johnson and other members of the WFSAD board. Prof. Falloon subsequently developed a bibliography of research findings to support the statement below.

Research indicates that better care, management and outcome is achieved for persons with mental illness when their families receive a continuum of education, training and support to carry out their role of primary informal care giver.

In 1998 the program was launched at the WFSAD biennial conference in Hamburg as Families as Partners in Care (FPC) and information about the initiative began to be disseminated.

Subsequently WFSAD developed other materials to support mental health professionals working with families.

Families as Partners in Mental Health Care - A Guidebook for Implementing Family Work

Despite a vast amount of research showing that treatment services based on these principles were extremely effective in promoting stabilization and even recovery, few were being implemented. It was therefore decided that WFSAD would make further efforts to promote implementation of family work by writing a guidebook. This was published in 2007 and is presently available in the publications area of the site.