The team members in our Family Partners program assist families who struggle with mental health and provides a whole-family approach to connect family members with the resources they need in many ways including: parent coaching, parenting classes, system navigation, resource finding, emotional support and child mentoring. Peer support is especially effective in breaking through isolation and shame that comes from social stigma.
Of all the families that Family Partners have worked with this past year, we want to share the story of one of them—this client family includes a grandmother and her three grandchildren, who she is raising. Two grandchildren are our agency clients and they suffer from trauma they experienced while being raised by their parents, who experienced addiction issues and incarceration. The oldest boy has suffered from exposure to sexual material too young for him to comprehend—he was acting out with his younger siblings and it became the safest choice for everyone to move him to live with an aunt nearby. The Youth Mentor from our agency who works with him has helped to keep him connected to his grandmother and siblings. His younger sister also has an agency Youth Mentor, and she has benefited from having another consistent adult in her life while her grandmother has faced health problems. The grandmother has a Family Partner with Community Action Marin and, during the pandemic, we have helped to connect her with Conscious Kitchen, a partner organization that provides cooked meals twice a week for the whole family. The Family Partner and one of the Youth Mentors take turns picking up the food and delivering it to the family.
In this case and others, our agency Family Partners go above and beyond to guide the whole family to resources and improve their well-being. Our guiding principles help to ensure that service plans are strengths-based, culturally sensitive and meet the unique needs of each family in ways that are respectful and family-centered.
If you have a child or adult family member who struggles with a severe mental illness and you’d like to learn more, please visit our Family Partners page (or call Dawn Hensley at 415-473-7814 or email firstname.lastname@example.org). If you’re seeking help, please reach out to Dawn.