While governments are urging adult mental health services to support consumers in the context of their family, there is little information about what family focused practice is, nor how it might be enacted.
Informed by the principles of Community Based Participatory Research, workshops were held in three rural Australian communities in 2015 to discuss the meaning of family focused practice and how such practices might be promoted.
Participants described the need to raise community awareness about mental illness and provide practical support to the family. Participants emphasized the importance of practitioners genuinely communicating with consumers and their families about mental illness and the need for collaborative care and treatment planning. They also highlighted the challenges of living in rural places and posed some solutions.
On the basis of the results and previous literature, we developed a model of family focused practice that outlined various stakeholders and their enactments. The model has the potential to inform policy, professional development and practice guidelines.