Table of Contents
Generally held weekly and typically run for 4 to 8 weeks. These courses usually run several times each year and require pre-registration. All are now being held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
LEAP (Listen – Empathize – Agree – Partner)
The LEAP approach was developed by Dr. Xavier Amador, author of I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help!: How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment. FAMI-Alberta has a family member who was trained by Amador to deliver LEAP locally. LEAP can help you quickly gain the trust of someone who needs your help. The goal over 4 weekly sessions is to get your loved one to accept treatment and adhere to medication; this is accomplished by strengthening your relationship. Find more information and link to register in our Supporting a Loved One section.
LEAP Training Testimonials
External Education Programs
Finding Your Balance (Alberta Recovery Colleges - Canadian Mental Health Association)
When a loved one is struggling with a mental health concern, it can be challenging to keep our own sense of balance. This multi-week, online course (8 X 1 hour) and will help caregivers build resilience, connection, and hope. This online course is offered on Zoom and run by two trained facilitators, one of whom has a lived experience of supporting a loved one’s recovery journey. Register online or call 211 in the Edmonton area.
CMHA Recovery College Calgary
CMHA Recovery College Lethbridge
CMHA Recovery College Edmonton
CMHA Recovery College Central Alberta (Red Deer, AB)
CMHA Recovery College Wood Buffalo (Fort McMurray, AB)
CMHA Recovery College Grande Prairie
CMHA Recovery College Medicine Hat
CMHA Recovery College Camrose
FamilyToolkitSource: BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information The Family Toolkit was designed to assist families in caring for a family member with a mental illness by providing information and practical resources. Download the entire Family Toolkit or individual modules:
Dealing with Cognitive DysfunctionSource: New York State Office of Mental Health A handbook for families and friends of individuals with psychiatric disorders that’s full of useful advice.
SchizophreniaFrom the US National Institute of Mental Health A 20-page booklet that discusses the positive, negative and cognitive symptoms of this serious illness.
Schizophrenia Carer PlaybookFrom EUFAMI An interactive PDF meant to provide guidance and advice to carers of those living with schizophrenia, helping them to navigate the struggles they may face.
These books are the ones most recommended by families:
I Am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help!: How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment
by Dr. Xavier Amador
It’s difficult to talk to a loved one who doesn’t recognize their mental illness. Many mental illnesses are accompanied by Anosognosia – the inability to recognize their illness. This book explains the LEAP approach (Listen, Empathize, Agree, Partner) to get them to a point where they’re able to accept help. You can download portions of the book dealing with LEAP here.
Surviving Schizophrenia, 6th Edition: A Family Manual
by E. Fuller Torrey
This is an invaluable book for understanding Schizophrenia, its symptoms, effects and prognosis. It also explains what is known and not known about this illness, and presents the most recent theories about its cause.
Bitter Medicine: A Graphic Memoir of Mental Illness
by Clem Martini (author) and Olivier Martini (artist)
In 1976, Ben Martini was diagnosed with schizophrenia. A decade later, his brother Olivier was told he had the same disease. For the past thirty years the Martini family has struggled to comprehend and cope with a devastating illness, frustrated by a health care system lacking in resources and empathy, the imperfect science of medication, and the strain of mental illness on familial relationships. In Bitter Medicine, Olivier’s poignant graphic narrative runs alongside and communicates with a written account of the past three decades by his younger brother, award-winning author and playwright Clem Martini. The Martini family lives in the Calgary area.
After Her Brain Broke: Helping My Daughter Recover Her Sanity
by Susan Inman
This memoir by Canadian Susan Inman describes her family’s nine year journey to help her younger daughter recover from a catastrophic schizoaffective disorder. This is a good read that fits the Canadian context.
I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help! (18 minutes)
Dr. Xavier Amador had a life-altering experience when his older brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. As a result, he developed a new way to approach patients previously thought to be in denial.This TEDx Talk from October 2017 summarizes current understanding of Anosognosia (a symptom of some mental illnesses, NOT denial) and how to deal with it successfully. A must-see for family members and medical staff.
Elyn Saks: A tale of mental illness – from the inside (15 minutes)
A legal scholar, in 2007 Saks came forward with her story of schizophrenia, controlled by drugs and therapy but ever-present. In this powerful talk, she asks us to see people with mental illness clearly, honestly and compassionately.
Thomas Insel: Toward a new understanding of mental illness (13 minutes)
Today, thanks to better early detection, there are 63% fewer deaths from heart disease than there were just a few decades ago. Could we do the same for depression and schizophrenia? The first step in this new avenue of research, says Thomas Insel, director of the (U.S.) National Institute of Mental Health, is a crucial reframing: for us to stop thinking about “mental disorders” and start understanding them as “brain disorders.”
Living with Schizophrenia (25 minutes)
From Dr. Xavier Amador’s LEAP Institute, this uplifting video shows interviews with patients living with schizophrenia, and mental health professionals who treat them. It shows how people diagnosed with schizophrenia can live normal lives.
Living Well with Schizophrenia
A YouTube channel with a series of short videos by Lauren, an Albertan living with schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder. These videos are intended to be a resource for people with the diagnosis, their loved ones, and for people who just want to learn more about the illness.
My Story with Schizophrenia (5 minutes)
A personal story from a young person with Schizophrenia – moving and realistic.
I Am Not A Monster: Schizophrenia (15 minutes)
While pursuing a major in Astronomy & Astrophysics at Pennsylvania State University, Cecilia McGough experienced a psychotic episode and was eventually diagnosed with Schizophrenia. In this powerful and hope-filled TEDx talk, she discusses her experience and how it led her to establish the organization Students with Schizophrenia.
Compassion for Voices: a tale of courage and hope (5 minutes)
A film about the compassionate approach to relating with voices, with potential for use as a therapeutic, educational, and de-stigmatising tool.
The following words and phrases are described in simplified terms to assist families in understanding mental illness and navigating the system. For the exact medical or legal definition, refer to the source material (e.g., Mental Health Act, DSM, etc.).
Anosognosia: when someone is unaware of their own mental health condition or can’t perceive their condition accurately. Anosognosia is a common symptom of certain mental illnesses, perhaps the most difficult to understand for those who have never experienced it. It’s different from denial (refusal to admit a problem); it’s an actual inability to recognize it. This video offers an explanation of Anosognosia.
Caregiver: Anyone who assists a family member or friend with challenges resulting from illness, disability or aging. This is distinct from a care provider, who is paid to provide assistance.
Formal Patient Certification: Also known as involuntary or certified. Someone with a mental disorder and who fits the criteria under the Mental Health Act to be detained in a facility. Requires two admission certificates by doctors. This flow chart summarizes the certification process. Note: this is different from being deemed incompetent.
Incompetence: Someone who is deemed incompetent to make decisions regarding their treatment (such as medication). A physician must complete a Certificate of Incompetence to Make Treatment Decisions (Form 11) and the patient has the right to appeal to a review panel. This flow chart summarizes the process.
Serious Mental Illness (SMI): a term that has replaced chronic mental illness, recognizing that (with treatment) the illness may not always be disabling. Definitions vary, but in general a serious mental illness among people ages 18 and older is defined as having, at any time during the past year, a diagnosable mental, behavior, or emotional disorder that causes serious functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities (such as maintaining interpersonal relationships, activities of daily living, self-care, employment, and recreation). SMIs include schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, psychotic disorders, major depressive disorders, bipolar disorders, and borderline personality disorder. See https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders or download this document for more information.
The following links are provided as a service; FAMI-Alberta doesn’t necessarily endorse any of the organizations or the content of their websites.
- Canadian Mental Health Association – Edmonton Region (CMHA-ER)
- Canadian Mental Health Association – Alberta Division
- Caregivers Alberta
- Schizophrenia Society of Alberta
- Mental Health Patient Advocate (Alberta Health Advocates)
- Alberta Alliance for Mental Health
- Alberta Patients (Alberta Medical Association)
- CASA Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health
- Mental Health Foundation
- Parents Empowering Parents
- Thumbs Up Foundation
- Eating Disorder Support Network of Alberta
- Organization for Bipolar Affective Disorders
- We All Believe in You
- Access Open Minds – Edmonton
- Access Open Minds – Calgary (the Alex)
- Active Minds at University of Alberta
- Prosper Place
- eleven of us (Edmonton suicide prevention initiative)
- Institute of Health Economics
- Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute at the University of Alberta
- The Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research & Education at the University of Calgary
- Alzheimer Society of Alberta and Northwest Territories
- Mental Health Commission of Canada
- Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness & Mental Health
- Canadian Mental Health Association – National
- Schizophrenia Society of Canada
- Canadian Collaborative Mental Health Care
- Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
- Mental Health Research Canada
- Access Open Minds
- Peer Support Canada
- Health Standards Organization
- Jack.org (for Youth)
- Youth Mental Health and Technology – Horyzons Canada
- Mindset: Reporting on Mental Health (guidance for journalists)
Foreign / International Organizations
- Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
- EUFAMI (Europe)
- International Society for Neurofeedback & Research (ISNR)
- LEAP Foundation for Research to Practice
- Mental Illness Policy Org.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
- Neuroanalysis Society
- Resources to Recover: A Website for Families
- Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA)
- SMI Adviser
- Treatment Advocacy Center
- Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE)
- Psychosis-Risk and Early Psychosis Program Network (PEPPNET)
- Headspace (Australia)
- Mental Health Act
- Mental Health Act Information & Resources
- Health Information Act
- Health Information Act Information & Resources
- Guide to the Alberta Mental Health Act and Community Treatment Order Legislation
- Formal Patient Certification
- Community Treatment Orders
- Mental Health Patient Advocate
- Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship Act
- Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (OPGT)
- Alberta Ombudsman
- Creating connections: Alberta’s addiction and mental health strategy (2011)
- Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH)
- Provincial Advisory Council on Addiction & Mental Health
- Alberta Ombudsman: Treating people with mental illness fairly – Report on Mental Health Review Panels, June 2019
- JH v Alberta Health Services, 2017 ABQB 477 (CanLII)
- JH v Alberta Health Services, 2019 ABQB 540 (CanLII)
- JH v Alberta (Minister of Justice and Solicitor General), 2020 ABCA 317 (CanLII)
Information about Mental Illness, Research and Advocacy
- Mental Help Net
- BC Psychosis
- BC Psychosocial Rehabilitation Advanced Practice
- BC Schizophrenia Society Advocacy Links
- BC Schizophrenia Society Education Links
- CMHA – Understanding Mental Illness
- Canadian Consortium for Early Intervention in Psychosis
- Cannabis and Psychosis
- Early Assessment and Support Alliance (U.S.)
- Early Psychosis Intervention – BC Health Authority
- Early Psychosis Intervention Portal
- Evidence Exchange Network for Mental Health and Addictions (EENet)
- Here to Help (BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information)
- One Mind Institute
- Mayo Clinic Mental Illness
- McLean Hospital Borderline Personality Disorder Education
- National Institute of Mental Health (United States)
- Pathways Serious Mental Illness Society (British Columbia)
- Ontario Family Caregivers’ Advisory Network
- Teen Mental Health
- SMI Adviser Knowledge Base
Patient & Family-Centred Care
- Institute for Patient and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC)
- Person & Family-Centered Care – Institute for Healthcare Improvement
- National Guidelines for a Comprehensive Service System to Support Family Caregivers of Adults with Mental Health Problems and Illnesses – Mental Health Commission of Canada
- The Change Foundation (Ontario)