Session tries to help families with addiction issues

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Health P.E.I. is holding a community reinforcement and family training (CRAFT) meeting

 Islanders impacted by a loved one’s addiction are invited to an information session on how to communicate with and support their loved one to seek treatment. 

Health P.E.I. is holding a community reinforcement and family training (CRAFT) session for the public tonight to discuss and teach effective strategies for helping a person with addiction. 

  The session is free for the public and is being held at Royalty Centre in Charlottetown, 40 Enman Cresc., at 7 p.m. Presenters include Greg Purvis, former Nova Scotia Health Authority director of mental health and addictions, and Tammy Kontuk, clinical psychologist with the Nova Scotia Health Authority. No registration is required.  

“There are many Island families and friends impacted by a loved one’s addiction. They want to help that person, but are often unsure of how to do so in a way that is supportive and healthy for all involved,” said Health P.E.I. director of mental health and addictions Verna Ryan.

  “Our staff is here to help people get the treatment they need, this includes supporting families and friends impacted by the addiction. CRAFT is the leading evidence-based approach to providing support to families and loved ones.”   CRAFT is an approach for families who have a loved one struggling with substances, but who is not really interested in making changes or getting help.

  CRAFT teaches families behavioural and motivational strategies for interacting with their loved one. Participants learn, for example, the power of positive reinforcement for positive behaviour (and of withdrawing it for unwanted behaviour), and how to use positive communication skills to improve interactions and maximize their influence.

  “CRAFT represents an important shift in the way families are encouraged to address their loved one’s addiction and their own health and well-being at the same time,” added Ryan.   “Previously, families felt that they had to make a difficult decision – to either help their loved one or to help themselves by distancing themselves from their loved one. Now, we can support them with tools and strategies so that they can help their loved one and themselves get through the addiction.”

  In addition to the public session, Health P.E.I. is also facilitating a three-day training session for mental health and addictions staff, as well as other stakeholder agencies and organizations such as the Office of the Attorney General, Canadian Mental Health Association, Family Violence Prevention Services and Holland College.

  For more information about support for families impacted by addiction, Islanders can call Addiction Services toll-free at 1-888-299-8399 (ask for the family program).  

Organizations: Holland College, Nova Scotia Health Authority, Royalty Centre Office of the Attorney General Canadian Mental Health Association Family Violence Prevention Services Addiction Services

Geographic location: Charlottetown

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