Welcome to the blog for Free Your Mind mental health anti-stigma campaign

This is the blog for the Free Your Mind campaign which aims to battle stigma towards mental illness through the use of music, art, film, and culture.
The blog consists of informative and, hopefully, entertaining articles/posts.
Enjoy! :-)

Friday, 16 July 2010

Coping With a Mentally Ill Friend or Relative

Dealing with a mentally ill friend or relative can be difficult, but you can help them by listening and being supportive. Being able to understand them better will also help you by giving you the information you need to cope.

Admittedly, not every day can be about their problems, so always remember to take time to look after yourself, this will put you in a better position to help your friend or relative when they need you.

When a loved one becomes mentally unwell, to the point where they may need sectioning, it can be upsetting for those around them. The unwell friend or relative may say or do hurtful things, but what must be remembered is that in all likelihood they probably didn't mean it. This is an important point to be remembered because your forgiveness and continuing support will help them pull through.

If you happen to be a carer, there are services out there than can help you. Joining a carer's group gives you the forum to share your experiences and listen to other carers in similar situations. Joining a group would also give you a support network to fall back on when your friend or relative becomes unwell.

Caring for a mentally ill loved one is difficult and can leave you not knowing what to do. Learning more about their particular diagnosis will help you help them. However, bear in mind when researching disorders that even those with the same diagnosis will behave differently; everyone is an individual.

Further Information Links:
Rethink -  "The leading national mental health membership charity, works to help everyone affected by severe mental illness recover a better quality of life." This links to Rethink's support group search page. My own parents have found Rethink's carer support groups very useful.
Carers4pd - A forum for supporting personality disorder carers. This is a direct link to their carers support page.
Mind - "The leading mental health charity for England and Wales."
Susan Kramms' Blog - Susan is a peer counseller and Advocate for the mentally ill - and I just love her blog. Her posts are both interesting and informative. 
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Related Free Your Mind Posts:

What is Mental Illness?

What is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy?

Inducing Calmness


  1. Sorry but this is no help. We need ways of dealing with people who do not have social skills.
    When mentally ill people are desperate, they often resort to dishonesty. They'll sleep in a tent outdoors and say they're former marines when they were never in the armed forces at all. They'll ask their relatives for money when the relatives know they'll piss it away. They sometimes will refuse medication for no other reason than that they do not like the intake nurse.

  2. I'm sorry that this was of no help to you. Although I am entirely unclear as to what information you were looking for..?

    However, I *completely* disagree with the many genralisations you make in your reply.

    I also believe it is wrong to say that people with mental health problems (like myself) have no social skills. That is a generalisation -- and a wholly inaccurate one too.

    Your generalisations are ignoring the complexities of mental illnesses -- as well as dismissing those with mental health problems as being, in your view (or so it seems, please correct me if I'm wrong) nothing but a nuisance. I say this because you talk in terms of "Dealing" with people, as opposed to "Helping" people.

    Unfortunately it is *exactly* these sorts of generalisations which contribute towards prejudiced attitudes towards those who have a mental health diagnosis.

    Nicola E.

  3. I agree with the other poster. We have to resort to "dealing" with our mentally ill relative because they are too irrational to help. Everyone else avoids having any contact with them because of their paranoia, aggressive verbal attacks and other behaviors. Out of sense of duty, we do our best to be supportive. Nothing helps. Their therapist now refuses to see them because of threats of lawsuits.
    Your comments about generalizations and "helping" are a bunch of politically correct bs

    1. I understand that people can be difficult when they're ill. But you are wrong if you believe that mental illnesses are not treatable.

      I don't believe that "Nothing helps".

      Psychotherapies - and psychotherapy & medication combinations - have been found to be VERY effective in treating mental illnesses.

      I don't believe my opinion is, "politically correct bs."

      I wasn't trying to be politically correct; these are my opinions, coming from the perspective of someone who has a mental health diagnosis and is receiving treatment. (Although the bit above about mental illnesses being treatable is more of a fact, rather than just my opinion.)

      Anyway; that is my opinion. If that opinion happens to be politically correct, as well as my opinion, then that is fine with me.

      I must admit, I have no idea which comments you are referring to. Are you talking about one of the other posts on this blog?

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

  4. I have a schizoaffective friend who is on plenty of meds and is in therapy, yet still claims people rob and have robbed her. She repeats the same stories about those who have robbed her ad nauseum. She thinks she's "normal." It's really annoying dealing with her sometimes. She thinks she's only depressed, and doesn't face the part of her that hears things and is delusional. I am getting very disgusted, but because I am bipolar, I feel bad, and try hard to just be a good friend. A "normal," person would have run away screaming. I know that sounds mean, but it's true.