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Family Toolkit


Family Toolkit includes:

  1. A survival handbook.
  2. A pamphlet for family participation.
  3. A booklet on federal and state confidentiality laws.

ONE WAY TO UTILIZE THE INFORMATION FROM THE FAMILY TOOKIT IS TO SCROLL THE MATERIALS AND PRINT SPECIFIC PAGES OF INTEREST. WHAT IS THE HANDBOOK? The 54-page Family Survival Handbook is a collection of first-hand, practical information families spearheaded on how to work with mental health professionals, navigate the mental health system, and communicate with their loved one, as well as take care of themselves.

WHAT IS THE FAMILY PARTICIPATION PAMPHLET? The two-page pamphlet, When Families Join the Mental Health Care Team, Everyone Benefits!” shows how families can partner with the care team according to the NYS Hygiene Law, the OMH Policy Guidelines and the American Psychiatric Association’s recommended practice.

WHAT IS THE “UNDERSTANDING HIPAA” BOOKLET? The 20-page booklet, Understanding HIPAA, NYS Mental Hygiene Law and Confidentiality, authored by OMH, demystifies the often misunderstood state and federal “Confidentiality” positions from both the family and patient/client perspective. The booklet clarifies for all concerned, confidentiality facts and ambiguities not previously summarized in plain English.

Benefits of these materials for those with mental health issues include having their families participate in meaningful recovery-oriented treatment and discharge planning, learn about peer support, the consumer movement and spearheading of recovery as a right.

Benefits of these materials for mental health professionals include finding families can be their most useful allies and contribute to better outcomes for everybody and families can play an important and effective role as treatment team members if they are equipped with information from the beginning.

The Family Toolkit is co-sponsored by the New York Office of Mental Health, the National Alliance for Mental Illness New York State, and the Family Institute for Education, Practice & Research and Mental Health Resources.

Its instigator and primary author, family peer coach, Judith Carrington, utilized input from forty families for the handbook and pamphlet. Please feel free to contact her with any questions at

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