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Living with a person with a mental illness

Mental illness impacts not only the individual, but also their family, roommates and partner. These impacts include a disrupted family life, feelings of discontentment and powerlessness regarding the situation, physical and psychological exhaustion, feelings of guilt, marital problems, extreme loneliness, precarious financial situations, etc.

If these problems sound familiar to you, remind yourself it’s normal. You are far from being alone in your struggles! We have help to offer.


Know that you have the right to make your own choices

Accompanying a loved one with a mental illness creates dilemmas and questions. Fortunately, you can take power over your journey by establishing priorities and boundaries. To help you identify your best courses of action and make the right choices, here are a few options :

  • Talk frankly with your loved one about your involvement in their recovery
  • Consider how much time you can devote to them
  • Determine how much you can realistically do
  • Consult with other loved ones for the division of certain tasks
  • Confide in someone you trust
  • Listen to your needs and pay attention to your diet and sleep patterns
  • Be patient and forgiving with yourself
  • Don’t neglect your own health
  • Explore the different services that are available to you and your loved one


Knowing how to react in more difficult situations

There is no magic formula for helping someone with a mental illness. It requires determination from the person affected, from you and from professionals. However, if aggressive behaviour occurs, it is important to maintain your composure and self-control.

It is essential to avoid :

  • Shouting
  • Confrontation
  • Touch
  • Ignoring the person
  • Acting alone
  • Putting yourself in a corner with no way out

If the aggressive behaviour persists, do not hesitate to call the police. If they regain their composure, offer to get help.

To learn more about how to react to aggression, please contact us. We can assist you in establishing a game plan that fits your situation and expectations. You can be part of the solution! However, you have to be able to set your boundaries and learn to manage the situation.

To learn more about the role you can play, please read the section dedicated to this subject.


Things to remember

Mental illness impacts not only the individual, but also their family and those who live with them. Relationships often become more difficult.

Remember that to be part of the solution, you need to know how to set boundaries and have a game plan for more intense situations.

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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