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Family Introduction

The Journey of Hope Family Education Course Outcomes Project

Journey of Hope Program Evaluation

Church-Based Support Groups for Families of Persons with Mental Illness

Family Coping and Resiliency

Journey of Hope Family Education Course Outcomes Project

The Journey of Hope (JOH) is an 8-week education course taught by trained volunteer family instructors to other families of adults with mental illness. Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, this five-year project examines the effectiveness of the JOH course in improving families’ ability to cope with their adult relatives’ illnesses, and the extent to which families’ improved coping affects their relatives’ functioning and service use. Partners in this research include the Louisiana Office of Mental Health and NAMI Louisiana.

The study is being conducted in three sites in Louisiana: Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and New Orleans. In each site, families were randomly assigned to either immediate enrollment in a JOH course (intervention group), or a course that began nine months later (control group). All families participated in three in-person interviews, conducted at the time they enrolled in the study (baseline or Time 1), at the end of the JOH course for intervention group families (3 months post-baseline for control group families or Time 2), and 6 months after the end of the JOH course for intervention group families (8 months post-baseline for control group families or Time 3). Interviews assessed families’ knowledge of the causes and treatment of mental illness, problem-solving and communication skills, well-being, social support, relationships with ill relatives, and mental health service satisfaction. Relatives with mental illness also were invited to participate in the study and completed interviews that assessed their medication adherence, social functioning, and mental health service use.

Data collection was completed in June 2004, and initial study results are now available. A total of 462 families enrolled in the study, with 231 families randomly assigned to the intervention group, and 231 families randomly assigned to the control group. Our results show several significant differences between the intervention and control group families. At both Time 2 and Time 3, compared to control group participants, JOH course participants had significantly: (1) greater knowledge of the causes and treatment of mental illness, and problem-solving and communication skills knowledge; (2) fewer information needs; (3) fewer depressive symptoms; (4) less negative views of their relationship with their ill relatives; and (5) greater satisfaction with their involvement in their relatives’ mental health treatment. At Time 2 only, compared to control group participants, JOH course participants reported significantly higher levels of caregiving satisfaction, and overall physical and emotional well-being. These results suggest that there are several long-term and short-term JOH course participation benefits. Additionally, by giving families the information they need to care and secure treatment for their ill relatives, JOH may be one of the evidence-based interventions that meets the President’s New Freedom Commission’s recommendations for transforming state mental health plans.

The JOH fact sheet lists these long-term and short-term course participation benefits, and course satisfaction results.

For information about the JOH Family Education Course Outcomes Project, contact Dr. Susan Pickett (Principal Investigator).

Project Staff

    Susan Pickett, Ph.D. , Principal Investigator
    Richard Lippincott, M.D., Co-Principal Investigator
    Cynthia Bennett, M.A., Evaluation Coordinator
    Pam Steigman , M.A., Data Coordinator
    Steve Aguillard, M.S.W., Research Data Analyst
    Pam Cameron, L.C.S.W., Research Data Analyst
    Jeanne Dunne, R.N ., Research Data Analyst
    Rhonda Norwood, M.A., Research Data Analyst

     

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Center on Mental Health Services Research and Policy
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Last updated November 19, 2008