Purpose Families play an instrumental role in helping relatives experiencing mental health issues to stay well. In the context of wider initiatives promoting family and carer needs, this study aims to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and potential benefits of bespoke training to develop clinicians’ skills in working with families in crisis. Design/methodology/approach The study was an uncontrolled evaluation of a one-day workshop for home treatment team staff using pre- and post-questionnaires. Findings In total, 83 staff members participated. Overall, there was a strong agreement for the involvement of families, which increased marginally after training. There were significant changes in views about talking to family members without service user consent (p = 0.001) and keeping them informed of their relative’s well-being (p = 0.02). Qualitative feedback indicated that participants enjoyed the interactive elements, particularly role-playing. Training provided an opportunity to practice skills, share knowledge and facilitate the integration of family work into their professional role. Research limitations/implications Confident support for families contributes to effective mediation of crisis and continuation of care; factors important in reducing admission rates and protecting interpersonal relationships. Overall, the consistency of responses obtained from participants suggests that this workshop offers a helpful introduction to a family approach at times of a mental health crisis. Originality/value This pilot evaluation suggests this new one-day workshop, is a feasible and acceptable training program, which is beneficial in developing clinicians’ skills in working with families in a crisis.