Journey of Hope Family Education Course


An intervention to improve families’ ability to cope with an adult relative’s mental illness


HopeCourses are led by trained members of families with a mentally ill member. The participants meet for 8 consecutive weeks of manualized intervention for 1.5-2.0 hours once a week. Class size ranges from 10-15 participants. Family members are encouraged to come together; the family member with mental illness is not invited to participate.

Curriculum focuses on biological causes and treatments for schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, major depression, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, recognition of signs of relapse, medications and side effects, impact of non-compliance and substance abuse, communication and problem-solving skills training. Classes are interactive and discussion is encouraged. Films, scripted lectures, group exercises and handouts are utilized.

Target Audience

Family members of an adult with mental illness. Family is broadly defined and may include parents, siblings, adult children, spouses, grandparents, friends.

Research Outcomes

Participants who experienced the intervention had significantly improved caregiving satisfaction, decreased information needs and significantly decreased social functioning information needs which were maintained for the 6 months following the intervention.

Research References

Pickett-Schenk S.A., Lippincott, R, Villagracia, I., & Grey, D. (2006). Changes in caregiving satisfaction and information needs among relatives of adults with mental illness: Results of a randomized evaluation of a family-led education intervention. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 76, 545-553.

Pickett-Schenk, S.A., Lippincott, R.C., Bennett, C., & Steigman, P.J. (2008). Improving knowledge about mental illness through family-led education: the Journey of Hope. Psychiatric Services, 59, 49-56.

Program fact sheet