Foster, K N. (2011). I wanted to learn how to heal my heart': Family carer experiences of receiving an emotional support service in the Well Ways programme. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing,20(1), K. Usher. 56-62. Australia: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1447-0349.2010.00710.x
Family carers of people with mental illness provide an immense contribution to society in caring for mental health consumers. However, carers can experience substantial burdens and poor health outcomes themselves. Recognition of their needs for education and support has led to the development of a range of family education programmes. Throughout Australia, the Mental Illness Fellowship Australia offers the Well Ways programme, a group-based, family-to-family, education programme that provides information and aims to increase carers' capacity to care effectively for themselves, their families, and the mental health consumers. This paper describes a qualitative evaluation of an emotional support service piloted in a Well Ways programme in rural Queensland, Australia. The pilot service comprised individual emotional support offered to family carers attending the weekly Well Ways group education programme. Six of eight family carers who received the emotional support engaged in semistructured interviews exploring their experience of receiving the support. Three themes emerged from their experience: dealing with difficult times, connecting through shared experience, and exploring different options. Family carers found the emotional support beneficial, and reported that it enhanced their capacity to manage their own well-being, as well as their caregiving roles.
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