Look at animation 2: identifying individual and family's needs.

The main purpose here is to clarify the needs of the family and to allay any worries or anxieties that they might have. It is important to note that different members of the family may have different worries and anxieties and they also need to be addressed. If you have some preliminary information about the family (like a referral letter), or about some of it's members, try not to let that information govern your thoughts; you need to listen carefully and make sure you hear ALL of the family members.

As a professional you also need to consider the composition and relationships within the family (Weber, 2010) as well as being sensitive to different needs (for example the family's cultural needs) (Hultsjo et al, 2007).

If there are children in the family, invite them to the meeting and listen to their viewpoints and ideas as well. The concepts associated with systems theory (inner link) applies here; if something happens to one family member it affects all of the other members as well. Use the information you have about different age-groups and your imagination when there are children in the meeting. For example you can ask children to draw their worries if it is hard for them to articulate them. In this example, you can ask more about the picture, which can make it easier for you to understand the child's experiences in an age appropriate. This discussion might be really important for other family members as well and they should be invited to to hear and join in if it is appropriate to do so. (While there are specific therapies for children, we have not included that information here).

Never underestimate the loyalty of children to their parents and their knowledge on issues within the family. Therefore, for example, drawings should not be used to keep children busy while adults talk, but a way to include children in the discussions.

  • Take the position of each family member in the animation. Try and imagine your feelings and emotions if you were in that particular family members position.

  • Think back to when you were a child and then an adolescent. Does this help you to understand how family members in different age groups can react in this situation? Don't think that everything is the same as it was for you, but use your experiences to understand.

  • What if you are the practitioner in this situation, but you are not meeting with family Smith, but family Jones, a husband and wife both over 70 years old. What would be different in this situation? What would you do differently?

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Henderson JL1,2, Chaim G, Luca S5, Brownlie EB, Rosenkranz S, Skilling TA, Beitchman JH. 2015. Program manager perspectives on the service system to meet the needs of youth with concurrent disorders: findings from a Canadian national survey. BMC Health Service Research.15(1), 393.

Hultsjö S, Berterö C & Hjelm K.2007. Perceptions of psychiatric care among foreign- and Swedish-born people with psychotic disorders.. Journal of Advanced Nursing 60(3):279-88.

Markle-Reid M, McAiney C, Forbes D, Thabane L, Gibson M, Browne G, Hoch JS, Peirce T & Busing B. 2014.An interprofessional nurse-led mental health promotion intervention for older home care clients with depressive symptoms BMC Geriatry 10(14),62.

Stanley N, Penhale B, Riordan D, Barbour RS & Holden S. 2003. Working on the interface: identifying professional responses to families with mental health and child-care needs. Health and Social Care in the Community 11(3),208-18.

Ryan SM, Jorm AF, Toumbourou JW, Lubman DI. 2015. Parent and family factors associated with service use by young people with mental health problems: a systematic review. Early Intervention in Psychiatry. [Epub ahead of print]

Weber, S. 2010. Nursing care of families with parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing 23(1), 11 -16.

The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.