The Pathway Homes Family Group met in June to engage in a discussion about schizophrenia, especially new research and treatments that are emerging. The second most requested topic in the November 2015 family survey, this was a much anticipated subject matter. Anita Robinson, LCSW, Pathways Vice President for Clinical Services, led the discussion and started with the basics – What is a hallucination? What is a delusion? “It was interesting to see that while some of these family members have had a loved one with schizophrenia for many years, few knew the basics about how the illness presents” said Anita.
The review covered how the symptoms of schizophrenia manifest and more specifically, how the behaviors of loved ones might change over time as a result of schizophrenia. Family members were also engaged in discussing practical ways they can help their loved ones in day-to-day interactions. Medication use, common reasons for not taking medications, and some common side effects were discussed. As one family member stated after the session, “This was an eye-opening discussion. I learned so much!”
The session ended with an open discussion about the ongoing challenges regarding affordable housing for individuals with severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia. Family members were provided a brief overview of Pathways’ ongoing advocacy efforts in this area and encouraged to engage in their own individual and collective advocacy with local and state legislators. One family member in attendance communicated his ongoing commitment to engaging the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors through his work with the Fairfax County Long Term Care Coordinating Council Housing Committee. Eleanor Vincent, COO, committed to providing members of the family group with regular advocacy updates that are relevant to Pathways’ priority advocacy issues and invited them to leverage their personal networks to support our efforts locally and at the state level.
The Pathways Family Group meets on the third Wednesday of the second or third month each quarter and is on hiatus in the summer. We truly appreciate those family members who continue to support us by participating in these meetings each quarter. Your partnership is invaluable to our success – thank you!