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Mental Health At Home: Tips for Family Members

family-eating-at-the-table-619142_640With mental health disorders affecting an estimated 54 million Americans, the responsibilities that come along with providing treatment are affecting more and more families every year. 

Support is one key element of recovery that individuals with mental health disorders need. This support typically comes from the individual’s family and loved ones.  What does this need for unencumbered support mean to you as a family member?   How do you cope with this new set of responsibilities in front of you?

Here a few things to consider as you begin the journey with your loved one towards recovery:

1.  Don’t Make Mental Illness the Focus of Your Life – If it’s the topic of conversation every night at dinner it will prevent you from creating a sense of normal family life. Make a conscious effort to discuss other topics with friends and family and do not let the recovery process take over every facet of your life.

2.  Talk It Out – Many families seek their own independent counseling to help further evaluate their feelings on the process.  Even establishing a support group inside your existing network can help you to receive valuable advice.  There are also many families out there struggling with similar issues.  Use the resources available to you to reach out and find other families that can relate to your experiences.

3. Establish “Me” Time – By taking time out from the situation and the individual you allow yourself to hit the ‘reset’ button and get some much needed time alone.  There are many programs out there that offer your loved one diagnosed with a mental health issue a chance to participate in fun and beneficial activities. While caring for a family member can seem overwhelming, it’s important to remember that with proper care and treatment, between 70 to 90 percent of persons with mental health disorders experience a significant reduction of symptoms and an improved quality of life.

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