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The Caregiver’s Ally in Mental Health
This guide created especially for the family and friends of a person living with a mental health issue by Friends for Mental Health will be your ally throughout your journey as a caregiver!
Martin has been in a relationship with his partner for 25 years and they have four children together. Learn how he reconciles his role as a partner, parent and colleague without burning out, how he deals with his friends' lack of understanding and how he stopped feeling isolated in his family environment.
Olivia has a brother who lives with a mental health problem. Learn about how she deals with the taboos and prejudices of others, how she found her role and place in her family and why she seeked help even if she isn't the one living with a mental health problem.
Christiane has a 38-year-old son who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the age of 18. Learn about how she manages her emotions, how she found her place in his recovery and how she gained new perspective on the mental health problem.
Frequently Asked Questions
After several years of roller coasters, I think I have accepted the reality of my loved one's mental illness, but I am saddened when I think that they may not be able to hold a steady job or start a family. How can I overcome this sadness?
People who suffer from a mental health disorder, like those living with a chronic physical illness, need to find meaning in their lives. They must come to terms with unfulfilled expectations and a life different from the one they had imagined. It is important to verify if they really are sad or if this is your interpretation of their emotions. Often, two people who witness the same event will give very different accounts of it. The same phenomenon happens when you examine someone else’s life. You see things you would consider unacceptable in your life, whereas the other person may find them to be enriching.
It is not uncommon for someone who has been on a roller coaster for years to recover enough to hold a steady job and start a family.
Since finding out about my loved one's illness, I have assumed a lot of responsibility to avoid overwhelming other family members. Did I make the right decision?
Despite the fact that you would like to protect everyone you love from the effects of the illness, it is impossible to do so. You should approach the problem as you would have before your loved one’s illness by involving all those concerned by the decision. Those who are most affected by the situation should have the opportunity to express themselves in the search for solutions.
Since learning of my loved one's mental illness, my life has been upended. How can I get it back on track?
Each person will react differently to this news, depending on their life experiences. The emotions experienced (anger, sadness, guilt, etc.) will be expressed differently according to several factors, including age, education, gender, life experience, etc.
In order to navigate this new situation, it is important to allow all loved ones to recognize that they are experiencing a loss and that this leads to new concerns and emotions. These losses often need to be grieved. To move forward, these losses will need to be identified and their resulting emotions expressed.
I feel powerless or isolated from the medical network. Where can I find help?
Health professionals are bound by confidentiality laws that do not allow them to disclose certain information about their patients. So, it is not surprising that you feel powerless or isolated from the system the difficulties your loved one is experiencing.
The best way to find answers to your questions is to contact the family service organizations in your area. There you will find an attentive ear and a range of services adapted to your needs.