Reason to Hope Family Education and
Reason to Hope family
education and training course was launched as a World Federation
for Mental Health Program during the WFMH Congress in Athens in
September 2009. Twenty delegates took Part I of the course,
eleven of them continuing to Part 2 and graduation as
Reason to Hope is an
international approach to family self-help. It is structured
education and multi-cultural support for families, developed and
taught by families; it alternates between facts and feelings,
and gives information and tools at the same time as it gathers
input and ideas from the participating group. Families receive
information about the illness, support for themselves, and
skills in how to be an effective caregiver.
Reason to Hope also offers
participants who show aptitude and interest a chance to become
instructors themselves, providing sessions for instructors at
the end of the course. These instructors are then part of an
“instructor college”, a WFMH Center for Family and Consumer
Advocacy and Support network of consultation and supervision
that continues throughout the life of the program in order to
give support and advice to new and continuing trainers, and to
gather feedback for future review and revision of the program.
As indicated above, the course
follows a cascade train-the-trainer model, building the capacity
of family leaders around the world and allowing exponential
reach and dissemination of the training materials.
The program was originally
conceived as a program of the world Fellowship for Schizophrenia
and Allied Disorders (WFSAD), prior to its merger with WFMH, as
a reorganization of its program Strengthening Families Through
Empowerment (2001-2006). The program also included, with
permission, many ideas from “Strengthening Families Together”
(2006), the text of which was provided by the Schizophrenia
Society of Canada.
In 2007 a pilot course was
delivered in Kenya to members and leaders of the Kenya
Schizophrenia Foundation. Invited as potential instructors were
delegates from Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, Sudan and
South Africa. Following feedback from this successful pilot, and
the addition of a section on Epilepsy, the course was published
in its present form. It was translated into Spanish and
delivered in centers in Uruguay and Argentina.
The mission of Reason to Hope
is to support and empower families through providing informed
education, encouragement and training and to encourage the
development of family self-help, education and advocacy.
Delivering the Course
A vital component of the
delivery of the course is full engagement with the receiving
organization some months in advance. This liaison will establish
whether the organization and its team of leaders has engaged
families to participate, has an appropriate venue and can
provide the visiting instructor information about local
This is where the idea of
mutual exchange is important for there are many aspects of the
education that are country or region-specific. A few examples
are: the availability of services; the legal framework; cultural
ways of conducting meetings and of providing education, as well
as issues facing families that are unique to that country.
Ideally the course is given
- eight weeks, 2 ½-hour
sessions per week with additional instructor training, or
- in the case of foreign
travel to deliver the course
- Three days: four
5-hour sessions + new-instructor training on the third
Because of the amount of
information presented, the course is ideally suited to the
eight- week format, but can be adapted to best meet the needs of
Reason to Hope education and
training is given to a maximum of twenty family members and in
some cases this group will include mental health professionals.
Instructor Training will usually be given to a maximum of 8
participants with aptitude and interest.
Once the course has been
delivered and a number of trainers are accredited, the family
education and training can be delivered to local families.
Over the 8-class course
- Accurate, detailed and
up-to-date information about schizophrenia and allied
disorders, their symptoms, prognosis, and treatment.
- Skills for providing care
to their relative, including communications, managing the
day-to-day, crisis planning and intervention, and relapse
- Self care tools, including
the importance and role of family support organizations.
- How to connect and deal
with their emotional reactions throughout the various stages
of caring for a relative with schizophrenia.
Class 1: Introduction to Mental
Class 2: Schizophrenia
Class 3: Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Class 4: Coping as a Family Part 1
Class 5: Coping as a Family Part 2
Class 6: Treating Mental Illness
Class 7: Living with Mental Illness
Class 8: Advocacy: Striving for Change
For more information please
contact Diane Froggatt,