mental health and families

family members

image by gideon tsang

in the last few days i’ve had occasion to think about the families of people who are dealing with mental health difficulties. would love to hear your thoughts. here are a few questions:

if you are someone who has experienced consistent mental health difficulties –

  • how have family members helped you with it?
  • have they ever made it more difficult for you?
  • have you been able to give them useful information, and how did they deal with it?
  • who do you consider your family? (close) relatives, friends, members of your community, and/or… ?
  • what are your greatest hopes in connection with your family and your mental health concerns? your greatest fears?
  • how do you feel your mental health concern has impacted your family, positively or negatively?
  • have health professionals been open/interested in involving your family?

if you are someone who has a family member of friend with consistent mental health difficulties –

  • how has your family member helped you understand what is going on for/with them?
  • how has your family member’s mental health concern impacted your family, positively or negatively?
  • what are your greatest hopes in connection with your family member and their mental health concerns? your greatest fears?
  • have health professionals been open/interested in involving you as a family member?
  • has your family member’s mental health concern changed how you view people or situations outside of your family?

if you are a health professional –

  • how do you feel about family’s involvement in the care for persons with persistent mental health concerns?

8 thoughts on “mental health and families

  1. SWrightBoucher

    Hello Isabella,

    I’m so happy to see your blog is alive and well. I enjoy your voice.

    You’re writing on a topic that’s close to my heart. I believe family members dealing with illness, especially mental illness, fall into roles – some healthy, some not so much. In my family, my role is to listen patiently. This wouldn’t seem possible to many who know me — a committed careerist who’s forever running from meeting to meeting, measuring time in 15-minute increments tied to deliverables and deadlines.

    I worry that mental health problems segregate people and shut them down. Especially if they know that sometimes what they say sounds odd to others. It breaks my heart to think that people may stop listening to them.

    It makes me mindful — especially at work where life moves so fast — that we all need to be heard.

  2. Ron Cruickshank

    I find taking the ‘mental’ out of mental illness is the key. It is the emotional that heals, and this only comes out in a place of great safety. Provide the safety, unconditionally and healing will follow in time. Here is an e-book that helps show how. http://www.roncruickshank.com/gift
    Listening, stepping back to a space of love only, and responding from there, is the only option to help someone who is struggling with mental concepts.

  3. Pauline@NationalSocialServices

    In any case of illness, especially mental illness, family’s support to the patient is really important. It is what makes them strong and motivated to survive. So the family, among all people, should be the one who understand and give positive impact to the patient.

  4. Sue

    My family member told me about how it affects her and that sometimes she is very up but others has no energy or will to do anything. It is like she is on a super sugar rush and just crashes. Yet it has now been found that it is an issue with wheat and after years of agony she has found a light. I have found that just being there and letting someone know you are there often helps.

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