Coping with Mental Health Issues

This is a sample of one discussion topic during our workshops.
Participants discuss this topic in small groups and then share with the larger group.

What Family Members Can and Cannot Do

By Rex Dickens of NAMI (revised by Michelle C. Sherman, PhD. and adapted by the Family Outreach and Response Program)

What Family Members Can Do:

  1. Talk about your feelings and encourage other family members to do the same.
  2. Talk to others who are also dealing with mental illness in the family (e.g., family Outreach and Response Program).
  3. Learn about mental health issues and mental health recovery.
  4. Practise hope-inspiring strategies. Hold the hope.

What Family Members Cannot Do:

  1. Can’t make the mental health issues go away.
  2. Can’t meet the relative’s needs all of the time.
  3. Can’t lessen the impact of the issues by not talking about it.

What To Do When your Help is Turned Away

Why do people with serious mental health issues reject help?

  1. The may not be aware that they have a problem or are too fearful to admit the issues to themselves or others.
  2. Adverse side effects of medications.
  3. Fear of being controlled by others.

Tips for caregivers on coping when help is rejected

  1. Remember that you are not responsible for his/her behaviour.
  2. Seek support for yourself.
  3. Don’t give up. Try to be patient. Hold the hope. Build on strengths.
  4. Remember that recovery often has ups and downs.