Mental illness affects approximately a quarter of the population in the United States, and family and friends often feel overwhelmed, isolated, and unprepared to help. Education about mental illness, and opportunities to connect and network with other families and professionals, make a significant difference in how well patients are supported in their recovery.
Western State Hospital, one of three psychiatric hospitals operated by the state Department of Social and Health Services, is taking a leading role in supporting recovery with its first family education event, Partnership for Recovery: A Day of Family Focus, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Saturday, May 31.
The event will begin with a morning program, Understanding Schizophrenia and Other Mental Health Disorders, followed by a catered lunch. Afternoon breakout sessions will focus on Understanding the Center for Forensic Services; Civil Commitment Services; Introduction to the Treatment Team; and Discharge Planning: Steps to Successful Living in the Community.
“Mental illness affects the entire family and therefore it is important to provide both education and support to the families of the patients in the hospital in an effort to help the patient,” said Laurel Lemke, director of the WSH Consumer Affairs. “It is really important for families to connect with each other and to share their experiences so that they don’t feel isolated or alone while dealing with a loved one with mental illness.”
The event also reflects a key goal in the DSHS Strategic Plan — supporting vulnerable people so they attain the highest possible quality of life.
The program will conclude with an opportunity to view art work by patient artists and a tour of the hospital museum.
The hospital plans to host similar events quarterly to provide mental illness and recovery education, opportunities to meet with hospital staff, and opportunities to network with other families, as well as community organizations such as the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.
For more information about this event, contact Laurel Lemke, Director of Consumer Affairs (253) 761-7533. Western State Hospital is located at 9601 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood, WA 98498.