Families & Loved Ones

Families and Loved Ones

If you find it difficult to come to terms with a loved one’s mental illness, there are many others who share your difficulty. Many family members and friends of people with psychiatric disorders find that mental illness in a brother, sister, parent, or close friend is a tragic event that changes everyone’s life in many basic ways. Strange, unpredictable behaviors in a loved one can be devastating, and your anxiety can be high as you struggle with each episode of illness and worry about the future. The nature of mental illness often makes it difficult for the person to seek treatment. This means that friends and family need to help, not only by expressing concern, but also by guiding the person to seek treatment.

It seems impossible at first, but people find that over time that they do gain the knowledge and skills to cope with mental illness effectively. They do have strengths they never knew they had, and they can meet situations they never even anticipated. A good start in learning to cope is to find out as much as possible about mental illness, both by reading and talking with others. The following fact sheets and resources may help you navigate some of the difficulties in dealing with a loved one who suffers from a mental illness.

Fact Sheets

Mental Illness & the Family: Recognizing the Warning Signs and How to Cope
Mental Illness & the Family: Is Hospitalization Necessary?
Recognizing Mental Health Problems in Children
What Every Child Needs for Good Mental Health 
What Parents Can Do To Cope with Stress