This chapter defines the basic concepts used in this book. Evidence-based practice (EBP) refers to the application of empirically-supported treatments in work with clients. As an EBP, family psychoeducation (FPE) is a time-limited structured intervention that reduces relapse and rehospitalization of clients with serious mental illness by enhancing their families' knowledge and coping skills. Serious mental illness is defined in terms of diagnosis, severity, and persistence, along with prevalence data from national population-based studies. The chapter presents data on the scope of families' involvement with persons with serious mental illness, in residential caregiving and/or ongoing social support. With few service providers offering education on illness management, education programs were largely developed outside of mental health systems, by organizations such as NAMI and MHA. Within systems, FPE emerged with research support of treatment efficacy by focusing on illness education and training in communication and problem-solving techniques.
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