CMHA recognizes the value of family caregivers

Posted April 4, 2017 by Site Manager

On April 4, CMHA Oxford joins organizations and communities across the province for Family Caregiver Day, a chance to recognize and celebrate the value of caregivers to Ontario’s families, health care system, and economy.

According to the Ontario Caregiver Coalition, there are over 3 million unpaid caregivers in the province, providing support to loved ones facing illness, mental health issues, disability or challenges associated with aging. More than 500,000 family caregivers in Ontario are between 15 and 24 years old, and nearly 375,000 caregivers are 65 years and older.

Caregivers are typically not perceived as a population in need of care and support, despite the fact that many caregivers feel socially isolated. Some are not aware that caregiving is distinct from being a good friend, child, parent or spouse. CMHA recognizes that caregiving is a specific role with unique challenges and solutions. CMHA Oxford offers three programs for caregivers: Living Life to the Full, Partnering with Families Affected by Mental Health and Addictions Issues, and Addressing Compassion Fatigue.

Living Life to the Full helps people to make a difference in their lives.  Participants are taught how to deal with their feelings when fed up, worried, or hopeless, and learn skills that help them tackle life’s problems.  This enjoyable, interactive course introduces the principles of Five Areas CBT and will help you understand your feelings and what to do about them. This is suitable for people who want to maximize their ability to deal with life’s challenges.

Partnering with Families Affected by Mental Health and Addictions Issues is an education and support group intended to help participants learn about mental illness and addictions issues, develop skills to help deal with the impact on family and friends, and collaborate with the individuals and treatment providers to find the best support options.  This group does not include consumer.

Addressing Compassion Fatigue is an interactive workshop that introduces and explores what is compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and burnout.  Participants will discover particular symptoms of fatigue, what personal and organizational practices that make them vulnerable to vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue, and evaluate their current self-care, and identifying triggers.  They will also learn how to develop a personalized strategic plan for identifying and treating compassion fatigue, and how overcoming perfectionism and cultivating self-compassion can help to build resiliency.  This group is available upon request.

To raise awareness about the importance of caregivers, members of the public are encouraged to share messages of support on social media using the hashtag #careitforward or sign an online thank you card for caregivers.

For more information on the groups above, or any other groups offered at CMHA Oxford, contact Mercedes Pitters at 519-539-8055 x 211.