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How mental illness impacts family and friends

The onset of a major mental health disorder in a family member throws us into a new world where the rules of the game are unknown, causing much apprehension and worry. Without support, mental illness can be distressing to the person experiencing it as well as those around them (family, friends). Most family members will experience significant changes that will be seen as negative, at least until the adjustment period is over.

Initially, most people are in denial over the situation. Despite the fact that we observe disturbing symptoms and strange behaviours, we try to find excuses and attribute the changes to adolescent growing pains, substance abuse problems or other issues. However, when a crisis episode occurs and a mental health issue is diagnosed by a health professional, family members begin looking for solutions without necessarily having adequate information to deal with the issue.

This is when unease and uncertainty can begin to set in. To avoid resorting to blame and guilt, it is essential to seek help in order to obtain relevant and appropriate information about the issues at hand. Access to qualified personnel provides a space to express our emotions in a positive manner and helps us become aware of our physical and emotional limitations, while maintaining confidence in ourselves and others.

This adaptation process not only helps us to survive but, more importantly, it promotes the learning of new knowledge and skills. Once developed, they become part of our tool kit for the rest of our lives.

Our advice : Be brave enough to seek help, because one of our 48 Réseau Avant de Craquer member affiliates are ready to offer you support. It’s free and available in all regions of Quebec. Call 1-855-272-7837 now to learn more or visit www.avantdecraquer.com.

Thanks to our partners :

Jean Coutu
VIA Rail Canada
L’Appui proches aidants
Réseaux communautaire de Santé et de Services sociaux
Éric Lamirande
Centre d’apprentissage Santé et Rétablissement
Lafrance Communication
David Communication
Desjardins Caisse du Plateau Montcalm
Centre Axel
Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l’Est-de-l’Île-de-Montréal
Fondation Québec Philanthrope

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