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First Nations pilot program takes aim at mental health

The first 10-week Strengthening Families Together: First Nation edition course will be held every Wednesday evening at the Shxwha:y Village Hall, beginning Feb. 17. A celebratory community gathering takes place Jan. 27.  - Sam Bates
The first 10-week Strengthening Families Together: First Nation edition course will be held every Wednesday evening at the Shxwha:y Village Hall, beginning Feb. 17. A celebratory community gathering takes place Jan. 27.
— image credit: Sam Bates

Registration is now open for the Strengthening Families Together: First Nation edition (SFT-FN) program in the Stó:lō Region.

A B.C. Schizophrenia Society initiative, this free ten-week educational program provides information, tools and support to family members and friends of individuals with serious and persistent mental illnesses.

This is the pilot session of the First Nation edition, says program coordinator Cindy Savage. "We've launched this new curriculum to better suit our First Nations population," she explained.

"Family and friends - regardless of the specific mental illness that their loved one is experiencing - they often go through the same challenges," Savage said.

"The program really helps people understand that they are not alone," she said. Furthermore, "it creates an environment for sharing and learning."

Course topics will cover how to cope as a family, treatment options, the mental health system, and much more.

The Chilliwack course will be held every Wednesday evening from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Shxwha:y Village Hall (44680 Schweyey Road). The program begins Feb. 17 and runs until April 20.

The feedback generated from this pilot program will be beneficial in shaping future sessions of the Strengthening Families Together: First Nation Edition in Chilliwack and expanding the program to other communities.

To register, contact Francesca at 1-877-717-5518 or at francesca@bcss.org. Class size is limited.

To celebrate the launch of the program, a community gathering will be held at the Shxwha:y Village Hall on Jan. 27 beginning at 5 p.m.

The celebration will feature First Nations guest speakers who will share their powerful journeys as well as a dinner (served at 5:45 p.m.). All are welcome to attend.

Savage would like to thank and recognize Shxwha:y Village Chief and Council for their partnership, guidance and support in this initiative.

 

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