FAMILY AND FRIENDS SUPPORT GROUPS


WHAT IS A PEER/FAMILY SUPPORT GROUP?

Family, friends and peer Support Groups are based on common or shared issues that build on the lived experience of the participants. They aim to explore solutions, strategies and support, relevant to the individual members of the group.

Family Drug Help has developed a network of self-help, mutual Support Groups across Victoria for parents, friends and partners of problematic drug users. The purpose of each group is to provide accurate information, support and referrals to those effected by drug use in their family or friendship group, and reduce the impact of fear, anxiety, helplessness, or shame that family members may experience when learning about, or coping with, drug use.

The establishment of a Support Group means that family members are themselves able to access local information and support by coming along to meetings. This involvement has, in turn, assisted families to better understand and support their family member who is using drugs.


WHAT DO SUPPORT GROUPS DO?

Groups meet regularly to offer support to families and friends through the provision of:

  • Accurate Information
  • Education and Training
  • Mutual Support

Mutual Support comes from families experiencing problematic drug use supporting each other. Support is the main function of the groups, backed up with education and provision of accurate information about drugs.

Family Drug Help supports twenty one Support Groups across Victoria. If you would like to contact a group to find out more about the way they work to find your nearest group and contact information click on the region from the Support Group menu.

For information on how to establish a group in your area, see Network Services below.


Network Services

The key function of Network Services is the establishment and support of the Family Drug Help network.

Network Services:

  • Assists existing support groups and supports the development and maintenance of new groups.
  • Builds and strengthens communication channels to ensure resource sharing and continuous learning within and between groups.
  • Ensures high quality training of Support Group Coordinators, Helpline staff and other volunteers.
  • Maximises opportunities for representation and advocacy on the needs of families of alcohol and drug users with policy makers, service planners and service providers.
  • Meets with agencies and family members in areas of defined need and provides encouragement, advice and information on the establishment of Support Groups. It provides guidance and materials on conducting public meetings and strategies to promote meetings through the local media.
  • Coordinates with local municipalities that have developed drug action plans and/or community safety plans in relation to the establishment and activities of Support Groups.

For information and/or support on starting a support group in your area, email Anne Iversen - Support Group Network Coordinator : aiversen@sharc.org.au or ring (03) 9573 1777

whisper


Artworks from ' Reducing the Storm to a Whisper ' exhibition in the Autumn of 2006 by the talented Mt Evelyn Families and Friends Support Group members. The very well received exhibition was a revealing reflection on the impact drugs and alcohol have on the families. The exhibition was generously supported by the Shire of Yarra Ranges.