Coping With Mental Illness in the Family

Reviewed Aug 14, 2016

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Summary

  • Avoid placing blame and guilt.
  • Continue to get involved in your own outside interests.
  • Both you and your relative should learn all you can about the illness.

Family members may have feelings of confusion and guilt when a loved one has a mental illness. This is normal. You may be very tired from helping your family member. You may also feel frustrated and angry toward doctors that don’t seem to be helping.

It is not unusual to feel anger toward your loved one and how he acts because of his illness. Knowing that your loved one has an illness does not always take away the hurt that you may feel. She may reject you when you try to support her. He may be afraid of or angry toward people who are trying to help.

It is natural to miss the person your relative used to be. But, caring, supportive family members play a vital role in helping your loved one get better.

Keep in mind:

  • Avoid placing blame and guilt. The family did not cause the illness. Neither did the person with the illness. Blaming yourself or others, including mental health doctors, is pointless. Focus instead on the future and ways to help your family member and her recovery.
  • Seek the support and understanding you need. Keep yourself healthy and learn coping skills. Identify people you can lean on for support. You want to be able to give your loved one the support he needs.
  • Stay involved with your own outside interests. Plan time for yourself. Keep in contact with friends.
  • Other family members (brothers and sisters, grandparents) may also be affected. They are might be having the same kinds of feelings as you.
  • Both you and your relative should learn all you can about the illness. Search for helpful info from trustworthy sources.
  • Find out about support systems when things are going smoothly. Don't wait for a crisis to look for a doctor or a support group.

Getting outside help

If your loved one’s doctor does not include you or explain mental illness very well, it will help to do research on your own. Find supporters who know what it’s like. Unless someone has lived with a family member who has a mental illness, it is hard for most people to understand what you are going through. You can find others in your situation through area local support groups. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has support groups. They also have education groups. You can find groups in your area by going to www.nami.org.

Support groups can help. In a support group, people share info about a common problem. You can talk about your family member's challenges. You can also talk about your own. A person may drop in to meetings for a few months. Or they may want to take a leadership role. Often people make lifelong friends.

By Haline Grublak, Vice President of Member and Family Affairs, Beacon Health Options
Reviewed by Reviewed by Julie Tull, CRSS, Peer & Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Avoid placing blame and guilt.
  • Continue to get involved in your own outside interests.
  • Both you and your relative should learn all you can about the illness.

Family members may have feelings of confusion and guilt when a loved one has a mental illness. This is normal. You may be very tired from helping your family member. You may also feel frustrated and angry toward doctors that don’t seem to be helping.

It is not unusual to feel anger toward your loved one and how he acts because of his illness. Knowing that your loved one has an illness does not always take away the hurt that you may feel. She may reject you when you try to support her. He may be afraid of or angry toward people who are trying to help.

It is natural to miss the person your relative used to be. But, caring, supportive family members play a vital role in helping your loved one get better.

Keep in mind:

  • Avoid placing blame and guilt. The family did not cause the illness. Neither did the person with the illness. Blaming yourself or others, including mental health doctors, is pointless. Focus instead on the future and ways to help your family member and her recovery.
  • Seek the support and understanding you need. Keep yourself healthy and learn coping skills. Identify people you can lean on for support. You want to be able to give your loved one the support he needs.
  • Stay involved with your own outside interests. Plan time for yourself. Keep in contact with friends.
  • Other family members (brothers and sisters, grandparents) may also be affected. They are might be having the same kinds of feelings as you.
  • Both you and your relative should learn all you can about the illness. Search for helpful info from trustworthy sources.
  • Find out about support systems when things are going smoothly. Don't wait for a crisis to look for a doctor or a support group.

Getting outside help

If your loved one’s doctor does not include you or explain mental illness very well, it will help to do research on your own. Find supporters who know what it’s like. Unless someone has lived with a family member who has a mental illness, it is hard for most people to understand what you are going through. You can find others in your situation through area local support groups. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has support groups. They also have education groups. You can find groups in your area by going to www.nami.org.

Support groups can help. In a support group, people share info about a common problem. You can talk about your family member's challenges. You can also talk about your own. A person may drop in to meetings for a few months. Or they may want to take a leadership role. Often people make lifelong friends.

By Haline Grublak, Vice President of Member and Family Affairs, Beacon Health Options
Reviewed by Reviewed by Julie Tull, CRSS, Peer & Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Avoid placing blame and guilt.
  • Continue to get involved in your own outside interests.
  • Both you and your relative should learn all you can about the illness.

Family members may have feelings of confusion and guilt when a loved one has a mental illness. This is normal. You may be very tired from helping your family member. You may also feel frustrated and angry toward doctors that don’t seem to be helping.

It is not unusual to feel anger toward your loved one and how he acts because of his illness. Knowing that your loved one has an illness does not always take away the hurt that you may feel. She may reject you when you try to support her. He may be afraid of or angry toward people who are trying to help.

It is natural to miss the person your relative used to be. But, caring, supportive family members play a vital role in helping your loved one get better.

Keep in mind:

  • Avoid placing blame and guilt. The family did not cause the illness. Neither did the person with the illness. Blaming yourself or others, including mental health doctors, is pointless. Focus instead on the future and ways to help your family member and her recovery.
  • Seek the support and understanding you need. Keep yourself healthy and learn coping skills. Identify people you can lean on for support. You want to be able to give your loved one the support he needs.
  • Stay involved with your own outside interests. Plan time for yourself. Keep in contact with friends.
  • Other family members (brothers and sisters, grandparents) may also be affected. They are might be having the same kinds of feelings as you.
  • Both you and your relative should learn all you can about the illness. Search for helpful info from trustworthy sources.
  • Find out about support systems when things are going smoothly. Don't wait for a crisis to look for a doctor or a support group.

Getting outside help

If your loved one’s doctor does not include you or explain mental illness very well, it will help to do research on your own. Find supporters who know what it’s like. Unless someone has lived with a family member who has a mental illness, it is hard for most people to understand what you are going through. You can find others in your situation through area local support groups. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has support groups. They also have education groups. You can find groups in your area by going to www.nami.org.

Support groups can help. In a support group, people share info about a common problem. You can talk about your family member's challenges. You can also talk about your own. A person may drop in to meetings for a few months. Or they may want to take a leadership role. Often people make lifelong friends.

By Haline Grublak, Vice President of Member and Family Affairs, Beacon Health Options
Reviewed by Reviewed by Julie Tull, CRSS, Peer & Family Support Specialist, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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