‘Simplifying Mental Illness + Life Enhancement Skills’
A program for children and young people who have a mum, dad or sibling experiencing a mental illness or mental health problem
The SMILES program has been designed specifically for a group of 8-12 year olds, or a group of 13-16 year olds who have a mother, father, brother or sister experiencing a mental illness (particularly schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression or anxiety).
The program is designed to achieve:
- Increased ability to cope effectively
- A new freedom for self-expression
- Development of creativity
- Reduction in feelings of isolation
- Increased self esteem
- and much more!
This is achieved through:
- Education about mental illness
- Art work and music
- Peer support
- Interactive and communication exercises
- Relaxation exercises
- Problem-solving activities
This all takes place in a fun-filled, supportive and caring atmosphere.
Features of the SMILES program:
- Three-day program, best suited to a school holiday period.
- Requires minimum 8, maximum 10 young people. Age range 8-12years or 13-16years.
- Designed as a train-the-trainer program to be delivered in partnership with local mental health, child and family services, ensuring ongoing delivery of the program.
- Able to be delivered internationally.
- Internationally recognised as a best practice method by the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry (Accepted Apr 2003, published Jul 2004).
Erica Pitman, the author of the SMILES Program* (Simplifying Mental Illness + Life Enhancement Skills), has generously provided the following downloadable resources to assist others to implement the program in their local area.
Erica writes: “I recommend that the program be delivered as it has been designed, over three consecutive days, using the suggested daily plan. This has proved to be a very effective format (see program evaluation contained in the information & guidelines section). The life skills activities are appropriate for use in individual counselling sessions, may be adapted for use with other populations and have all been used successfully with adults as well as children.”
When delivering a SMILES Program (or similar) it will be the responsibility of the facilitating team and sponsoring organisation to ensure that:
- current child protection policies/legislation and reporting requirements are adhered to
- adequate insurance cover is taken (e.g. workers compensation, professional indemnity, professional liability)
- adequate program and clinical supervision processes are implemented.
Should you use any part of the program in any form or by any means please acknowledge the author, Erica Pitman, in full.
- All documents are in PDF format and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view. Get Acrobat Reader free here.
- Zip files should be saved to your computer before opening. These are not self-extracting zip files. Right click on the logo and select “Save Target As…”. If you do not have Windows XP, you will need a copy of WinZip to open this file. WinZip is available here.
*Please read ‘Section one: Introduction, information and guidelines’ below before using any of the material
>Download Introduction to SMILES & Longitudinal Follow-up (revised April 2015)
Section one: Introduction, information and guidelines
>Download zip of Section 1 slides here (885kb zip file)
- Program Header page – 41kb PDF file
- Acknowledgements, Author & Disclaimer – 72kb PDF file (revised Aug 2011)
- Contents – 122kb PDF file (revised Apr 2015)
- Guidelines Header – 34kb PDF file
- Information & Guidelines – 321kb PDF file
- Resources & Budget – 232kb PDF file (revised Aug 2011)
- Suggested Daily Plan – 90kb PDF file
- Background Music – 65kb PDF file
- Singing – 66kb PDF file
Section two: Activities
>Download zip of Section 2 slides here (1.29MB zip file)
- Activities Header page – 33kb PDF file
- ‘Ice Breaker’ – 100kb PDF file
- Family Drawing – 73kb PDF file
- Mental Illness Education – 155kb PDF file
- Anxiety Education – 124kb PDF file
- The ‘Innerview’ – 82kb PDF file
- Pie Chart – 44kb PDF file
- ‘It’s Good to be Me’ Game – 48kb PDF file
- Meditation – 74kb PDF file
- Favourite Pet/Object/Person – 58kb PDF file
- Friends Drawing – 74kb PDF file
- Problem Solving – 45kb PDF file
- Children on a Tree – 59kb PDF file
- Create a Card – 43kb PDF file
- Outdoors – 57kb PDF file
- Desiderata – 146kb PDF file
- Photograph – 48kb PDF file
- Feelings Story – 110kb PDF file
- Compliments – 48kb PDF file
- ‘The Ideal Family’ Meditation – 40kb PDF file
- Mental Illness Symptoms Factsheets – 2.2Mb Zip folder
- Mental Illness Education, Reachout Factsheets – 586Kb Zip folder
Section three: Forms
Each form is saved as a ‘protected document’. To make changes ‘unprotect’ the document. Refer to Information & Guidelines section for further details.
>Download zip of Section 3 slides here (748kb zip file)
- Forms Header page – 33kb PDF file
- Flyer – 43kb Word doc
- Interview Form – 210kb Word doc
- Facilitator Assessment Form – 98kb Word doc
- Mentor Application Form – 122kb Word doc
- Evaluation Form – 60kb Word doc
- Parent/Guardian Evaluation Form – 121kb Word doc
- Facilitator Attendance & Notes Record – 130kb Word doc
- Evaluator’s Program Record – 139kb Word doc
- Certificate of Attendance – 157kb Word doc
- ‘It’s Good to be Me’ Cards – 94kb PDF file
- ‘Picture Good To Be Me Cards’ – 280kb PDF file (Added April 2015)
- ‘Self-Care Cards’ –1854kb Word doc (Added April 2015)
Section four: Handouts
>Download zip of Section 4 slides here (2.13MB zip file)
- Handouts Header page – 33kb PDF file
- Facilitator/Mentor Guidelines – 42kb PDF file
- Children’s Group Guidelines – 39kb PDF file
- Adolescent Group Guidelines – 39kb PDF file
- The ‘Innerview’ – 38kb PDF file
- ‘How Are You’ Faces – 1099kb PDF file
- ‘Coloured How Are You Faces’ – 443kb Word doc (Added April 2015)
- Feelings Diagram – 40kb PDF file
- Mental Illness Worksheet – 40kb PDF file
- Depression Worksheet – 38kb PDF file
- Bipolar Worksheet – 39kb PDF file
- Schizophrenia Worksheet – 41kb PDF file
- Anxiety Worksheet – 38kb PDF file
- Body Diagram – 18kb PDF file
- Child Body Diagram – 124kb Word doc (Added April 2015)
- Treatments Worksheet – 41kb PDF file
- Enhancing Mental Health – 147kb PDF file
- ‘Children on a Tree’ – 478kb PDF file
- Home Play Activity Sheet – 41kb PDF file
- Problem Solving Formula – 73kb PDF file
Section five: Appendices
>Download zip of Section 5 slides here (3.12 MB zip file)
- Appendix Header page – 200kb Word doc (Added April 2015)
- Bibliography – 110kb PDF file
- Living On The Edge When Your Brother Has Schizophrenia – Erica Pitman, Carers NSW – First National Conference for Siblings Australia Inc., 2004 – 62kb PDF file
- Devastating Impact on Siblings and Children Affected by Mental Illness in the Family, Erica Pitman-Smith, ARAFMI Group Development Officer, Rural Mental Health Conference, Broken Hill, March 1997 – 3.1Mb PDF file
If you have any enquiries about this program please contact Erica Pitman via email@example.com.
The SMILES Program materials listed on this website have been provided by Erica Pitman. While every effort has been made to ensure the information contained in the SMILES Program & Manual (electronic or otherwise) is as up to date and accurate as possible, it is intended as a guide only. Erica Pitman or AICAFMHA cannot be held responsible for any damage, action taken, or loss arising out of the contents of this program or manual. The resource materials have not been evaluated by the COPMI Project or AICAFMHA. The inclusion of a resource material is in no way to be taken as an endorsement or recommendation of that product. The COPMI national initiative and parent body AICAFMHA take no responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided. Views and recommendations expressed in these resource materials are not necessarily the views and recommendations of the COPMI national initiative or AICAFMHA.