Intensive Family Support Services
Intensive Family Support Services (IFSS) is a county-wide support program, administered by CBHCare, for families of relatives with mental illness. The program is based on the belief that, despite recent improvements in treatment and community services, family members often take an active role in care for a mentally ill relative. This can be an especially difficult and challenging task. IFSS provides tangible coping skills to address these challenges. IFSS is open to all Bergen County families with a mentally ill relative; the family member does not have to be in treatment for the family to receive services. IFSS was designed with extensive input and assistance from families caring for relatives with a long history of serious mental illness.
When your loved one is diagnosed with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bi-polar disorder, finding appropriate medical and psychiatric care is your first priority. But once treatment begins, you and your family member soon discover that the illness affects many aspects of life and you need more than medical help.
IFSS is a comprehensive program of supportive services and activities designed to assist families with a mentally ill relative to:
- learn more about mental illness and the treatments available
- understand the community mental health system in Bergen County
- acquire skills to help you manage the behavior of your mentally ill family member
- participate in a support network of families coping with mental illness
- take a break from caring for your family member while being sure they are well cared for
What Services are Available?
WEEKLY SUPPORT GROUPS: Members of families coping with mental illness meet together with a mental health professional for mutual support and information exchange.
INDIVIDUAL FAMILY CONSULTATIONS: Family members meet with a mental health professional to develop strategies for coping more effectively with problems resulting from their relative's illness.
RESPITE CARE: The mentally ill relative is temporarily cared for either at home or at a Comprehensive Behavioral Healthcare facility to give the caregiver a break.
EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOPS: Informal programs provide up-to-date information about mental illness and treatment options and also teach skills that enable caregivers to better manage their loved one's illness and improve the functioning of the family.
ADVOCACY: Family members learn effective ways to obtain and maximize available resources.
REFERRAL SERVICE: IFSS staff assist families in locating additional relevant programs and services.
24-HOUR ACCESS LINE: IFSS staff are available to provide advice and support to family members any time, day or night.
TRANSPORTATION: IFSS provides transportation for families to community and support programs when needed.
For more information and to begin participation, call Lara Zucker, IFSS Coordinator 201-646-0333.