The family unit is one of the most important and influential social groups. At some point in each of our lives, we are part of a family. Today we have expanded our definition of family beyond the “nuclear” reference and many people have created their own meaningful definition of family in their own lives.
In serving people challenged by mental health issues, Crestwood recognizes how essential family can be to the process of recovery. One of Crestwood’s Core Values is Family, which means our company is committed to providing safe, secure and responsive mental health services to the entire family. It is estimated that up to 70% of people living with mental health issues live with a family member.
The needs of families for support, education, and information are evident. At Crestwood American River, we seek out and actively engage with the family members of our clients, and have become acutely aware of the stress and conflict they are experiencing. As a result, the American River campus offers a free-of-cost Family Support Group to help families navigate the systems designed to support their family member, provide an outlet for sharing, problem solving and processing of difficult feelings, and creating their own self-care plans.
Our Family Support Group was started in January 2015, and is led by Denise Thompson, MFTI, who is one of the Recovery Service Coordinators at the American River PHF. The group is a psycho-educational community support group and is open to all family members of past and present clients. The group is held bi-weekly without fail and members set the topics. It is a safe, confidential place to share their healing journeys. They share stories, learn coping skills and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) techniques, while connecting with each other. One member of the group, Jamie, is a key advocate for the creation of the group and has been regularly attending since it first began. When his family member was a client at Crestwood American River he asked for support, he asked for resources, and he volunteered to be a part of helping others in any way possible. “It is difficult to find the right words to describe the excruciating emotional pain created by seeing a loved one secluded in a mental health facility. It is difficult as well to describe the gratitude after finding the desperate relief through the sessions offered by Crestwood,” explained Jamie. “When my family member began in the rehabilitation program at American River, my family and I, at that time, did not have support or knowledge of where to go. All of this was done in order to make things easier for me, and to point us in the direction of the light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you for opening this door of opportunity and healing, which is a great step for me, and for giving me the strength to persist and succeed.”
At Crestwood American River we feel honored to support our clients and their families. We believe by providing support and education to the families and the community, it leads to inclusion and reduces stigma. This is what living our Crestwood Values is all about.
Stacy Small, Clinical Director