Mental Health Series: Family Resiliency

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About Course

Family serves as the cornerstone of a person’s life and plays a crucial role in shaping who we are and how we navigate the world around us. Beyond cherished memories and birthday celebrations, families wield a profound and extensive influence over one’s mental health.

In a world where life moves relentlessly fast, individuals and families encounter various challenges. From sunrise to sunset, families establish the bedrock of our existence, molding our identity, values, and emotions. The intricate web of family connections plays a pivotal role in nurturing our emotional well-being from the very beginning. As infants, we are cradled by caregivers who provide warmth, comfort, and security. This caregiving environment is crucial for the development of secure attachments, laying the foundation for healthy emotional regulation and social skills in later life. The bonds formed during these early years serve as a lifeline through the inevitable storms of life.

As we traverse the teenage years, the presence of a loving and supportive family becomes increasingly crucial. Faced with countless challenges – academic pressures, peer influences, and the search for personal identity – the family acts as a shield against the tempest of uncertainty. The knowledge that there is a sanctuary where acceptance, understanding, and encouragement await fosters resilience and a sense of belonging, shielding young minds from the shadows of isolation and anxiety.

The influence of family on an individual doesn’t cease with adolescence. In adulthood, family becomes a vital source of emotional support, aiding in navigating life’s complexities. Additionally, as the custodians of familial traditions and cultural heritage, they instill a sense of continuity and belonging, nurturing a deep sense of identity and pride. These ties to our roots offer stability, purpose, and resilience to face life’s challenges with unwavering determination.

However, it’s essential to acknowledge that family dynamics can also present challenges to mental health. Strained relationships, conflicts, and unresolved issues can lead to emotional turmoil. During such times, open communication, empathy, and seeking professional help can promote healing and growth, reinforcing the understanding that family, imperfections and all, remains an integral part of our emotional well-being.

This course delves into the fundamental concept of the family as a shield for the mental health of its members. It is part of the Wellbeing Campus program organized by the Health Promoting University (HPU) of Gadjah Mada University, in collaboration with the Center for Public Mental Health (CPMH) at the Faculty of Psychology, UGM. The primary objective of this course is to equip students with the understanding and the ability to articulate the significant role of family in shaping and maintaining the mental health of its members.

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What Will You Learn?

  • Participants will gain an understanding of the crucial role of the family as the cornerstone of a child's mental health.
  • Participants will be able to identify several factors that can lead to issues and dysfunction within a family.
  • Participants will learn about components that can serve as indicators of family dysfunction.
  • Participants will acquire skills to address family issues through effective communication and conflict management.

Course Content

Psychological needs across the range life
Ensuring good mental health should start as early as possible. Families play a crucial role in ensuring a child's well-being, forming the fundamental basis for lifelong welfare.

  • Video

Family Neurobiology
This module delves into the neurobiology of families, a discourse involving multisystemic family system theory, drawing insights from recent research in neurobiology and relationships.

Family development theory: vulnerable points in life
The family is the smallest system within the social environment. In the process of building a family, various phases must be navigated for the family to grow. This material will address how a family undergoes changes over time, progressing from marriage to the passing of a partner.

Family dysfunction: the roots of mental health problems
Family dysfunction can occur when family members do not fulfill their roles and emotional bonds among family members do not form. This can have an impact on the mental health of every member of the family. Why does this happen? This section will explore how family dysfunction is indeed the root cause of mental health problems and how to address family conflicts when family dysfunction has already occurred.

Resilient Family
A resilient family is one where its members love and care for one another. In this module, we will discuss the six indicators of a resilient family developed by family expert John DeFrain. According to him, the six indicators of a resilient family include: appreciation and affection for one another, positive communication, commitment to the family, quality time together, shared values, and the ability to effectively manage stress and crises.

Family communication and family time
This part will focus on family communication and spending time together as a family. Effective communication in a family will enable a family to discuss everything, from the good to the difficult. Setting aside time for the family is something worth striving for. This material will address the importance of communication and allocating time to the family, both of which can have a significant impact on the family.

Family Conflict Management
No family is perfect, and being mentally resilient as a family doesn't mean there are no issues. In this section, we will learn how to address problems and conflicts that arise within families.

How to teen your parent – How to parent your teen
Adolescence is the time when individuals start to form their identities and strive for independence. Both of these aspects often lead to conflicts between teenagers and parents. The abundance of conflicts between teenagers and parents may seem normal. This material will discuss the dynamics between teenagers and parents, including the factors creating the generation gap and triggers for conflicts, and will provide solutions for conflicts to reach a good understanding between parents and teenagers.

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