The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has officially launched the National Guidelines for a Comprehensive Service System to Support Family. The guidelines are primarily aimed at service providers and policy makers, recommending many types of supports and services that caregivers need at different stages of their loved one’s illness and at different stages of their own lives.
The Guidelines present 41 recommendations intended to improve the capacity of caregivers to provide the best possible care to adults with mental illness while tending to their own wellbeing.
Caregivers from across Canada were instrumental in the development of these guidelines by offering feedback on an early proposed draft in focus groups alongside adults living with mental illness, service providers and representatives from not-for-profit mental health organizations.
Recommendations cover topics such as how to integrate family support into mental health services, training and support for service providers, as well as potential legislative and policy changes.
The Guidelines also recognize that the unpaid care and support provided by family caregivers provides a major contribution to the health and social service system, which would be costly to replace with paid formal services. Researchers estimated that in 2006, caring for persons with mental illness added up to $3.9 billion in Canada alone.
See “National Guidelines for a Comprehensive Service System to Support Family Caregivers of Adults with Mental Health Problems and Illnesses” at: www.mentalhealthcommission.ca.