Community Family Support Signposting

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1 Community Family Support Signposting Hampshire, Dorset, Bournemouth RAPt (Rehabilitation for Addicted Prisoners Trust) The Foundry, 2nd Floor 17/19 Oval Way London, SE11 5RR Tel: Fax: Web: Blog: Produced by RAPt

2 Community Family Support Signposting A person's drug or alcohol misuse has a big impact on people close to them. Family members and friends can find their own health and well being badly affected. People close to a drug or alcohol user can find themselves trapped in the trauma of addiction; feeling responsible, but unsure how to help. They are often desperate for advice and support themselves. There are a range of community services that can help family members, partners or friends to regain control over their own lives, whether or not the drug or alcohol user is also receiving help. Many services offer advice and information, along with support groups or individual counselling and signposting to other relevant and complementary services. Some people find it very difficult to access support; they may have a fear of sitting in a group, or talking one to one about their problems. However, seeking support can be an important first step in helping not only themselves but also the person they are trying to support. Useful tools can be developed to help people cope with difficult issues, and this in turn can have a knock on effect by helping ease the problem. Many community services offer one to one counselling support or guidance on the phone for those family members or friends who just want an initial chat and are possibly anxious about attending a support group. Staff who work in the treatment sector know how difficult it can be to talk about the issues family and friends may be experiencing as a result of a relative or friend s substance misuse. They aim to be sensitive, understanding and committed to helping you find the right support. This booklet includes a list of both local and national organisations that may be able to help you.

3 Practising Self-Care When someone close to you has addiction problems, your own health and well-being can suffer. Here are some suggestions for making small changes in your own life. For more information you may find our Practising Self-Care booklet helpful. Let your loved one face his or her own consequences: By constantly protecting your loved one, you may be preventing them from getting the help they need. You can explain to your family member, I care about you, but I cannot take on your responsibilities. Try to focus on your own physical and emotional health: This is not a selfish act, but sets a good example of self-care to others in your family, including the addict. Reserve time exclusively for you, for example taking a long bath; going for a walk; cooking your favourite meal or making time to see a friend who makes you laugh. Try to change negative thinking to positive: Remember all of the values and skills that qualify you as a caring individual. Being a wife, mother, brother or friend does not diminish just because someone in your life has turned to drink or drugs. Give yourself credit for doing the best that you can with the knowledge and skills you have at this time. Conserve your personal energy: Think about how much energy you spend doing things for others; trying to change someone else can be exhausting and sometimes impossible. Begin to change your focus, and then use your conserved energy for your own needs. Projections and expectations: Sometimes it is hard to avoid the fear of what might happen in the future. Try to turn your focus to yourself, keep your expectations realistic and work towards changing your reactions to problems, without getting into arguments or conflict. Ask for help: Don t be afraid to reach out to others when you need assistance, help, or a shoulder to cry on. As well as emotional help, you may also need practical support such as with housing, money, visits and children. Get informed: Joining a support group or attending an information session or drop-in for family members or friends can be a good way to find out more about addiction and treatment. Support groups may help you to meet others going through similar issues, and they may have new coping strategies that might work for you too. Knowledge is definitely power. Families and friends who can learn about drugs and alcohol, and their effect on the user, are better placed to deal with substance misuse and addiction. The following pages will give you an overview of the services available to families in your local area, who can provide support and information. Self-Care Break free from isolation or feeling embarrassed: Getting involved in healthy activities outside of the addictive environment is crucial. If you are having trouble maintaining friendships, a support group may help. Look for opportunities to spend time with people who are positive, who help you move away from negativity, and who leave you feeling good about yourself.

4 Services for carers of those with substance misuse problems A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support. Anyone can become a carer; carers come from all walks of life, all cultures and can be of any age. Many feel they are doing what anyone else would in the same situation; looking after their mother, son, or best friend and just getting on with it. Caring for someone with a drug problem can be very stressful, but there are many organisations that can support you. Many people who care for someone in their family or close friendship circle who has an addiction wouldn t consider themselves as a carer, but this might be you. Substance misuse is much stigmatised and by association so are those who care for drug and alcohol users. By not talking about your feelings and experiences in relation to caring for a user, you may be adversely affecting your own emotional and mental well-being. The following are some organisations that specifically support carers and offer a range of services you may not be aware of. These may include help with exploring financial assistance or finding out about support groups in your area where you can meet other carers dealing with similar challenges. They also signpost to organisations that employ staff who will be sensitive to your needs and will direct you to the best forms of support on offer. The Carers Trust The Carers Trust helps people who have taken on a caring role and who may need help in doing so. The organisation s website has lots of information on how to make contact with your local Carers Service. They will be able to help you locate a range of services (many local carers' services have specialised substance misuse carer support services) as well as help you access additional support in your local area. You may be entitled to some financial support. This will be ascertained by requesting a Carer s Assessment. You are entitled to one if the person you care for is eligible for community care services. If you are unsure about this, then your local carers centre will be best placed to help you to find out and the Carers Trust can point you in the right direction. You can contact the Carers Trust using the information below. Simply explain that you are looking to find out what kinds of support might be available to you as someone who has taken on a caring role for an individual who has a drug and alcohol dependency. Telephone: Website: Carers Direct The NHS Direct site has information on how to access local support if you are a carer, including information specifically relevant to those caring for someone with a substance misuse issues. Telephone: Website: caring-for-drug-misuse.aspx

5 Regional Services Hampshire Families with Children Support Services A carer is someone who, without payment, looks after or provides help and support to a partner, child, relative, friend or neighbour who could not manage without that help. This could be because of age, physical or mental illness, addiction or disability. Visit the Carers Centre website for more information about the services they offer. These include support groups and advice around financial or practical matters that may arise as a result of caring for someone close to you who is affected by a mental or physical health condition, including addiction. To find out when the next support group is, please contact: Telephone: / Website: The Princess Royal Trust for Carers in Hampshire

6 Parent Support Link Hampshire Parent Support Link is not just for parents, but for any family member, parent, sibling or partner who needs support. Services include: A 24-hour phone line providing information about illegal substances and their effects, or a listening ear for people affected by another person s drug use. If the phone line is busy, messages will be responded to within six hours. Listening Session: For callers who need more support than is appropriate on the telephone contact line. The volunteers who run the help line are trained to recognise this type of call. The sessions are offered at the Parent Support Link office through an appointment system, ideally on a next day basis. An evening support group is held in Southampton on the first Tuesday of the month from pm. This is a facilitated meeting offering a safe place to talk through feelings and to share concerns and experiences with others who are coping with drug and alcohol use in the family. A drop-in support group is also held on the 2nd and 3rd Monday of the month from 10am -12 noon. Please call PSL on the number below for further information. PSL is also affiliated with other support groups in the Hampshire area; a list is available on the website. Telephone: Website: One to one sessions are offered to explore ways of coping and to consider plans to change the way things are. This is arranged by appointment only. During this time, an assessment is made jointly with the people concerned. Appointments are limited and they offer a course of up to six sessions. Support Groups: Parent Support Link offer various support groups throughout Hampshire for those affected by someone else s drug use (including parents, partners, husbands, wives, friends, brothers, sisters, and grandparents).

7 Dorset EDP Relative Support Group EDP understand that caring for someone with substance misuse problems can be isolating. They seek to break the stigma you may be experiencing and reduce harm by sharing knowledge and experience, offering: Support Peer Support Groups Educational Workshops Signposting to other agencies Weymouth Telephone: / Website: Families Plus Support Groups Families Plus run groups for those supporting someone with a substance misuse problem. These are held in the following areas: CHIPPENHAM 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month from pm SALISBURY Thursday evenings from pm TROWBRIDGE Thursday evenings from pm Telephone: Website:

8 Action For Prisoners Families (APF) APF provides information on local family support services. They also produce a number of leaflets and other publications aimed at prisoners families. Telephone: Website: Grandparents Plus Grandparents Plus provides peer support, advice and information to grandparents and family members who are raising children when parents are unable to. We help people to access benefits and other sources of financial assistance, including small grants for essential household items. We also provide legal information and signpost to other organisations where relevant, and provide general support and assistance with a wide range of problems faced by family carers. Telephone: Website:

9 Prisoners Families and Friends Service This service offers telephone information and support. Telephone: Website: POPS (Partners of Prisoners and Families Support Group) POPS provides information and support to the families of offenders, from their earliest contact with the Criminal Justice System, through to release and beyond. POPS was established by family members and has maintained a user-led approach to service delivery and development ever since. Telephone: Website:

10 Bournemouth SHARP Support for families offered by SHARP Bournemouth. Liz Mullins, Support Team Coordinator Telephone: Poole EDAS Poole EDAS offers one to one and group support for family members and friends supporting someone with a drug or alcohol problem. Telephone: Website:

11 National Services Adfam UK Adfam is the only national umbrella organisation working specifically with and for families affected by drugs and alcohol. Adfam provides support materials and training specifically for families and professionals, and have a database of support groups and helpline numbers for any family members needing advice and guidance. Address: Adfam, 25 Corsham Street, London, N1 6DR Telephone: Website: Al-Anon Family Groups Al-Anon Family Groups provide support to anyone whose life is, or has been, affected by someone else s drinking, regardless of whether that person is still drinking or not. Al-Anon run support groups all over the UK and can signpost you to your local support group meeting. Telephone: (Helpline available 10am - 10pm, 365 days a year) Website: Alateen Alateen is for teenage relatives and friends of alcoholics. By attending meetings, young people are helped to gain an understanding of the illness and feel the benefits of realising they are not alone. Web:

12 Families Anonymous Families Anonymous and Al-Anon run groups in lots of different areas all over the UK. These organisations are fellowship based, which means that they follow a structure similar to the 12-Step model that is run in some of the RAPt treatment units (both inside prison and in the community). Many family members and friends find that gaining an understanding of a 12-Step programme is very useful to them in terms of helping deal with their own feelings and management of the situation with their loved one. For others, attending a 12-Step family support fellowship also gives them a sense of how a fellowship programme works, and if they are supporting someone who is currently attending one, what it involves. Although it can be daunting attending a support group, it can be helpful to remember that everyone seeking support has been a newcomer at some point or another. Sometimes, it can also be helpful to find a friend or another family member to attend with you for support. FA run support groups all over the UK and can signpost you to your local support group meeting. The helpline number is (local ). The local number is cheaper from a landline outside London, but more expensive from a mobile. Calls to the helpline are normally answered on weekdays (1pm 4pm and 6pm 10pm), and on weekends (2pm 10pm). The helpline is manned by volunteers who are FA members, and who therefore have direct experience. If you fail to speak to someone, please leave a message or FA via their website (below). A volunteer will get back to you as soon as the messages are collected. FA will not leave a message for you and will only talk to you in person. Website: Children of Addicted Parents and People (COAP) Children of Addicted Parents and People (COAP) is an online community of support for young people from the ages of 11 to 30. It brings together young people who are mutually affected by parental and family drug and alcohol abuse, as well as other addictions, such as gambling. COAP run a welcoming, safe, and supportive online community; letting young people know they are not alone in their experiences. For many young people, the current path may seem to be one of loneliness, despair and confusion. Through the COAP message boards, young people can gain support, information and advice regarding issues that arise as a result of addiction in their family. COAP also run an online counselling service which is free to access. For more information on COAP and their services contact: COAP (Children of Addicted Parents and People) 32 Threadneedle Street London EC2R 8AY Telephone: Web:

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