Wellbeing Programmes

Relatives & Friends Programme

What is our Relatives & Friends Programme?

Our Relatives & Friends Programme is a psychoeducational programme designed specifically for those supporting a loved one experiencing depression or bipolar disorder. The aim is to focus on the self-care of the supporter, while also equipping the supporter with the tools to understand and support a loved one experiencing depression or bipolar disorder.

Our programme is delivered in 90 minute sessions across four weeks and is available to anyone aged 18 years and over, who resides in Ireland.

We are now offering our programme in both a virtual and a face-to-face group setting, so you can choose the most appropriate setting for you.

Register for the Relatives & Friends Programme

Before signing up, we ask that participants are available to attend all four consecutive weeks  of the programme.

For the virtual programme, we ask all participants to turn on and leave their cameras on for the duration of the programme. Thank you.

Programme registration is now closed. Register your interest for our next phase below.

Register your interest

There is a refundable booking fee of €30 for this programme. You can request a refund by emailing info@aware.ie upon completion. Alternatively, if you enjoyed the course and are in a position to support Aware, you can leave your booking fee as a donation.

Please note if you are a student, unemployed, over 65, or hold a medical card, you are eligible for reduced refundable booking fee. To avail of this discount, please use discount code 20off (enter this code at bottom of booking page).

> Reliable Wi-Fi and a quiet area with some space to complete worksheets

> Arrange to print 5 worksheets that will be emailed to you prior to the start date

Zoom is compatible with smartphones and tablets, but we strongly recommend using a laptop or PC.

You will receive Zoom details in advance. If you do not receive communication from Aware after registering, check your spam/junk folder. If it is not to be found, please contact info@aware.ie.

If you do not have a zoom account, you will need to create an account and download the desktop app.

Create a Zoom account >>

Download desktop client >>

Aware is unable to offer technical support. Please contact Zoom for additional information and support. Zoom Technical Support >>

Not sure which of our programmes are for you? Watch our information session on our Life Skills Programme, Relatives & Friends Programme and Living Well with Bipolar Disorder Programme, designed to help you gain a better understanding of the programmes, prior to signing up.

Support & Self Care Group for Relatives & Friends

We also offer a dedicated Support & Self Care Group for relatives and friends supporting a loved one.

Find out more about our Support & Self Care Groups here

What to expect

Our Relatives & Friends Programme is delivered in workshop style to offer you a participative learning environment. Each session is 90 minutes long and facilitated by a mental health professional. The workshops provide an opportunity for discussion, but at no stage is are you asked to share information if you do not wish to.

Each group will contain a maximum of 15 people.

The content of the programme addresses the signs and symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder, offers practical advice on self-care, teaches coping tools, communication skills and addresses the issues that arise for people who are supporting a loved one. At the end of the programme, you will take away your own personal action plan.

We also offer a dedicated Support & Self Care Group for relatives and friends supporting a loved one. We encourage programme attendees to attend this group if you wish to connect with others, to give and receive emotional support and learn coping skills. You can attend regularly or periodically.

The programme includes the following content:

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This session re-enforces the programme is specifically designed to support and provide ideas, tips & tools to relatives & friends of a loved one experiencing depression, bipolar or mood related conditions, and also looks at the impact of giving support, on an ongoing basis. Helpful information on the different degrees of depression, and the symptoms of bipolar is shared. An individual Personal Support & Action Plan is introduced and explained, to help capture ideas, tools and tips generated and learned throughout the 4 week programme.

The principles of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is introduced during this session, and a three step CBT model is explained and demonstrated with the opportunity to practice in groups. This is designed to encourage using the CBT model as a tool to implement and enhance coping skills, moving forward.

We look at what your fears are for your loved one on this session, and how the coping tool can be applied to help cope with those fears. Also, focus on how we communicate is explored by examining our questioning and listening skills and identifying how to improve our communication skills, with our loved one.

Identifying the impact, from giving ongoing support to your loved one, and recognising the importance of self care, is explored and discussed on the final week. Finalising and reviewing your individual Personal Support & Action Plan, including newly acquired knowledge & skills gained from each of the sessions, concludes the programme.

We’re confident our programme will help you to:

  • Increase your knowledge
  • Teach you skills to cope more effectively
  • Improve communication with your loved one
  • Offer practical tips on self-care
  • Lessen the impact of the experience of depression or bipolar disorder on your relationship
  • Assist you in supporting your loved one

Feedback from past participants:

  • “I thought the programme was very well organised helpful and delivery excellent. I have endured a long bumpy journey and felt isolated lonely confused and didn’t know where to turn!! I have benefited from the new knowledge delivered and to realise there is support!”
  • “I thought it was great to be in a room with others in the same boat – very comforting. Sharing experiences and hearing that the way I’m reacting is normal and giving me information how to help.”
  • “It is stuff I had in my head already, how important self care is etc. but the class really brought it home to me. It gave me strength to follow things through. It didn’t pretend to offer solutions to the problems but rather tools to help which I thought was very good as usually there is no magic solution.”
  • “It just made me feel better every week. To be with people that go through similar situations, have similar situations, have similar issues with loved ones too, sometimes have a little laugh about well known situations.”

See all of our programmes

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