We know from decades of research that caregiver involvement, including family and non‐family members, in a patient’s mental health treatment can make a tremendous difference in the trajectory of their loved one’s life by supporting recovery, reducing relapse, and decreasing mental health crises. Family and caregiver involvement also decreases provider stress, improves caregiver well-being, and can lead to lower patient healthcare utilization and costs. But despite their importance, many family members and caregivers struggle to engage in the kind of support that can benefit the patient and themselves. They often lack access to education, resources, or skills to step into this critical role despite a desire to help. Our initiative intends to develop a pilot Family and Caregiver Academy (Academy) that aims to decrease barriers to caregiver involvement and improve caregiver support.
Our team will develop online training that will include an orientation to having a loved one who is psychiatrically hospitalized and will teach families and caregivers practical communication skills while their loved one is in our care. These topics would be relevant regardless of a patient’s diagnosis and will be adapted from existing evidence‐based models. The pilot will be tested with caregivers of patients hospitalized at the new Center for Behavioral Health and Learning and we will proactively integrate input and feedback from participants to inform program improvements along the way. We will also build a public-facing website to host Academy training materials as well as mental health information and resources that we will curate for accuracy and reliability. We expect the Academy pilot content will serve as a foundation for additional Academy offerings that will include diagnosis specific skills trainings as well opportunities for in-person sessions and Family Peer Support programming.
January 1, 2024 — December 31, 2024
Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions
University of Washington
Adults, Caregivers/Providers, Older Adults
General Mental Well-Being