Reconnect Support Services (RSS)

Introduction

The behaviours typically exhibited by addicts and/or people affected by mental illness can affect the family system directly and indirectly, eventually creating a dysfunctional environment. Mental health and addiction problems can cause families to experience anxiety, stress, shame, self-blame, depression, fear and anger. It's not uncommon for family members to carryout extreme measures from the consequences of the sufferer’s behaviour. This is as a result of the additional stresses and time demands of care giving, as well as the actual cost implications. In some cases, other family members who may not view the condition as a disease may develop a deep resentment for the family member who is perceived to be causing a dysfunction. Family members often feel they have nowhere to turn for support, comfort, or relief from the ongoing stress.

Mental illness is a progressive disease, which means that without adequate care, its effects multiply as time passes. Consequently, these family members may be at risk of poor health themselves if they don’t have sufficient support. Just as the individual in recovery will require support from family and friends, it will also be important for family members to have support as well.

Intervention:

Recovery for the family shares characteristics with the recovery process for a sufferer as both depend on acknowledging the problem, learning about the disease, and adopting new coping skills. RSS provides encouragement to help families & loved ones cope with the emotional and physical stress that can enhance recovery of their loved one. They have the opportunities to interact and progress toward positive change and in the course of the program; they would be able to reach out to other families who they know are suffering experiences similar to them. Through support, these families can gain more strength and valuable knowledge.

A look at mental health across Africa