Programs that provide information through a variety of channels that improves the public's understanding of a particular mental disorder or issue such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder; the risk factors and signs associated with the disorder; screening/diagnostic procedures; treatment and/or management options; the results of the latest research regarding the issue or condition; and general information about strategies that family members and friends can employ to support a loved one with the condition and cope with the impact of the situation on their own lives.
Programs that provide information for psychiatric patients and their families about the individual's diagnosis; the meaning of specific symptoms; what is known about the causes, effects and implications of the problem; treatment and/or management options; and how to recognize signs of relapse so they can seek necessary assistance before their difficulty worsens or occurs again. People work towards recovery by developing better skills for overcoming everyday problems and illness-related issues, developing social support and improving communication with treatment providers. Family psychoeducation includes teaching coping strategies and problem-solving skills to families, friends and/or caregivers to help them deal more effectively with the individual. It improves the knowledge patients and their families have; provides a greater understanding of the importance and benefits of medication; and reduces distress, confusion and anxiety within the family which may, in turn, help the individual's recovery. It is not considered therapy or treatment but rather is designed to stand alone or complement psychotherapy.
Programs that improve the public's understanding of mental health and mental illness and help people make choices which promote personal mental health, take advantage of opportunities for early detection, develop an awareness of available treatment options and support their ability to deal with mental health problems when they arise. General mental health information/education programs provide information about a wide variety of mental health related diagnoses rather than specializing in a particular area; and may develop and disseminate materials whose objective is to dispel misconceptions about the nature of mental illness, marshal support for people who have a psychiatric disability or behavioural issue and help to remove the stigma that is often associated with mental illness.
Programs that attempt to reduce the incidence of specific types of mental health issues such as problem gambling, suicidal feelings, sexual addiction, shopping addiction or cluttering through a variety of educational interventions in situations where prevention is a realistic option. The programs help people understand the nature of the problem, the impact of the issue on the lives of individuals and families, the risk factors and warning signs, and sources of treatment and support that are available in the community. Included may be printed materials, videos or websites that address the subject and presentations in schools and agencies and to family groups as well as information campaigns that are intended for the community at large.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.