What does it mean to be a Supporting Families Affected by Parental Mental Illness or Substance Use client? When a person is a client of our program, it means they are accessing one of our ‘client-only’ services. These include:
- Groups (such as Resilient Kids, Resilient Youth, Parent Education Group, etc.)
- Individual or family-based consultation with a clinical counsellor to determine which local service(s) may best suit a family’s needs
How can I become a client of this program? If you or someone you know is interested in accessing our client-only services (groups and individual/family-based consultation to determine which local service(s) may best suit your/the family’s needs), please send us a completed referral form (available HERE). Once a referral form is received, we will be in touch to set up an intake appointment (can be over the phone or in person.)
Are there any age or other requirements to be a client of this program? The short answer is: No!
The longer answer is: We value timely access to appropriate services. This means we want to create as few barriers as possible for children, youth and families in Richmond who are affected by parental mental illness and substance use and would benefit from greater connection to their community.
To make it easier to access this program, we don’t have any formal inclusion or exclusion criteria. That being said, we do know that people tend to get the most out of our program when the following information applies to them:
- The child, youth or family is affected by parental mental illness or substance use (note: at this time our groups are designed for school-aged kids/youth 8-18 years old and parents)
- People living, working or going to school in Richmond
- Interest in either individual or family-based consultation with a clinical counsellor to determine which local service(s) may best suit a family’s needs OR interest in attending a group
If the above information does not apply to yourself or someone you want to refer to the program, but you still think that our services could be beneficial, please contact the Supporting Families Clinical Lead to discuss whether a referral to our program would be appropriate or what other services may be a better fit. Their contact information can be found here: xxx-xxx-xxxx.
If a child, youth or family isn’t sure whether they want to become a client of this program and/or if the above criteria doesn’t apply to them, they are welcome to become a “friend” of the program and attend our public events such as Family Fun Nights and Community Education Nights. These events can offer people the chance to come see what we’re about without needing to commit to becoming a client of the program!
Does the parent need to have (and disclose) a medically diagnosed mental illness or substance use disorder (“addiction”) for their child, youth or family to be a client in this program? The short answer is: No, the parent does not need to have or disclose a medically diagnosed mental illness or substance use disorder (“addiction”) to access this program.
The longer answer is: If a child, youth or family self-identifies as being affected by parental mental illness or substance use, they can become a client of this program. If parents do have a formal or working medical diagnosis and they feel that sharing this information during their intake appointment will help us better identify and understand their needs, we encourage them to share this information.
What does this program mean by “family”? We recognize that the definition of family is a very personal matter and a person’s definition of ‘family’’ can evolve and change over time. We define ‘family’ however the client we are working with defines family which could include one or many parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, legal guardians, foster parents, and so on.
Why does this program focus on mental illness and substance use (“addiction”)? Based on Canadian research, we know that about 1 in 5 people will be experience mental illness in any given year and 1 in 5 people will experience a substance use disorder (“addiction”) at some point in their life. We also know that when a person is experiencing a mental illness, they are more likely to also experience a substance use disorder (“addiction”) as compared to the general population. While this doesn’t mean that all people with a mental illness also have a substance use disorder (“addiction”) or vice versa, we aim to connect with as many families as possible who may be affected by these distinct but related areas.
Why does this program offer services for children, youth and families affected by parental mental illness and/or substance use? In the mid-2000’s, a group of health care, not-for-profit and social service providers gathered in Richmond to discuss and hold a series of community consultations about gaps in services. A clear theme emerged: there was an unmet need for services to support children, youth and families affected by parental mental illness or substance use – especially among children and youth who were not themselves affected by a mental illness or substance use disorder and therefore not able to connect to many existing supports. Thus, this program was born!
Is it free to participate in your program? Yes, all of the services we offer are free!
Who runs the Supporting Families Affected by Parental Mental Illness and Substance Use program? Our program is run as a partnership between several Richmond-based health care, not-for-profit and social services. The program is formally led through a joint partnership between its two leaders, one of whom works with the Richmond Addiction Services Society (RASS) and one of whom works with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH.) Many of our group facilitators and other partners work at local health care, not-for-profit and social services. For a list of our partner organizations, please click HERE.
What does it mean to be a “friend” of the Supporting Families Affected by Parental Mental Illness or Substance Use program? Some of the services we offer are open to anyone – not just clients! This means you do not need a referral or to be a client to access these services. We refer to people who access our ‘open’ (eg, no referral needed) services as “friends” of the program. Some of the services we offer that are open to anyone include: Family Fun Nights and Community Education Events