From the Mental Patient to the Person

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  1. What it's like to see a psychiatrist
  2. Living with a Person Suffering from Mental Illness | Gouvernement du Québec
  3. Mental Illness and the Family: Recognizing Warning Signs and How to Cope
  4. Share via email
  5. Living with a Person Suffering from Mental Illness

The local doctor is an important contact for you. They can create a mental health care plan for the person and this will be a vital early step in your caring regime. If the person you care for doesn't agree with their initial diagnosis, they can get a second opinion. People who care for someone with a mental health disorder may find that some healthcare professionals are reluctant or unwilling to share information with them. This can be very frustrating since very often the carer has the fullest picture of the person's condition. However, mental healthcare professionals are legally bound to protect the confidentiality of their patients, so they may be unable, rather than unwilling, to talk about care needs.

To avoid this problem, try to get the consent of the person you care for to discuss their care needs as early as possible after their diagnosis. This consent should be made clear on any care plans or documentation relating to their care, and any changes to this consent should be clearly noted.

What it's like to see a psychiatrist

Mental healthcare professionals may not be able to share certain personal details about the mental health of the person you care for, but this doesn't mean that they should not listen to your perspective. You'll need to have a conversation with the person you care for about what you are and what you are not prepared to do. You may need to be firm with your decision. If you feel you're doing too much, see if someone else can share the caring responsibility with you. If the person you care for is feeling particularly isolated or desperate, they may say that they want to kill themselves, or they may attempt to do so.

Mentioning suicide may not be the same thing as wanting to end their life. They may say that they feel overwhelmed and want it to end, or talk about feeling useless or that their life is pointless. It's important to acknowledge such statements rather than being dismissive or making light of them.

Living with a Person Suffering from Mental Illness | Gouvernement du Québec

You may be worried about your safety or the safety of the person you care for or someone else. This may be carried out by a community mental health team already known to you, or your local hospital. The person you care for should be consulted at every stage of treatment and can only have treatment or tests with their consent, unless they're detained under the Mental Health Act relevant to the state or territory you live in. If you're struggling to care for someone with a mental health problem, it may help to talk to other carers in a similar situation to you.

Some local carers' organisations have separate meetings for carers of people with mental health problems which the local mental health team could provide contact details for. The person you care for may become increasingly reliant on you. It's common for people with a mental health diagnosis, such as depression , to become insular and lose interest in social activities. You may be one of the few people they have contact with.

Advice for Helping Someone with a Mental Illness

Although it's important to support the person you care for, it's essential to look after your own mental health too. It's important to maintain your own social activities. If you start to feel depressed, anxious or overwhelmed, it may be time to speak to your doctor about the impact your caring role is having on your emotional and mental health.

Mental Illness and the Family: Recognizing Warning Signs and How to Cope

Carer Support program supports carers of people with mental illness, by providing one on one support, education, and opportunities to take a break from caring. Please speak to your doctor for advice about your situation. Subject matter experts, people with lived experience of mental illness and carers all contributed to this fact sheet. This website needs JavaScript enabled in order to work correctly; currently it looks like it is disabled.

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Back to For carers Home For carers Caring for someone with a mental illness. Are you a carer?


  • Caring for someone with a mental health disorder | healthdirect.
  • How to Help Someone with Mental Health Problems!
  • Find a psychiatrist near you.

If you support someone with mental illness, you are playing an important role in their recovery. A diagnosis can change over time. It does not define the person. If the person you care for agrees, you can: Stay with the same clinicians if you are happy with them. This will avoid having to tell the same story over and over. You might have questions like: What should I look out for? When is it an emergency — and is there a number I can call? Who is the treating doctor? If the person needs to go to hospital, how long will they be there for? What plans are there for discharge? Why have you chosen this treatment?

Young Man on Being Diagnosed With Psychosis

Are there any other options? What medications have been prescribed, and when should they be taken? What side effects should I be aware of? What help and supports can the hospital or health service provide? Keep track of medications Mental illness is often treated with medication. How you can help with medication: Keep track of the medications the person is taking, for both their physical and mental health.

Take side effects seriously. Use the first person rather than the second in speaking to them; it is the secret to good communication. In this way, the person is less likely to deny or be defensive. I am sad about what is happening. What do you think is happening to you? Someone with mental illness can experience periods of instability on their way to getting better.

Living with a Person Suffering from Mental Illness

When necessary, encourage them to see support groups or mental health organisations and associations for information, help and support. If the person refuses, be patient and keep listening in order to understand their reasoning for refusal. Offer to go with them as that could help in making up their mind. However, you and other members of the entourage might notice the person has abnormal reactions and behaviours. This could be a sign it is necessary for the person to consult a doctor.


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  7. See the Help and Resources section for resources available to you. Living with a person suffering from mental illness is not always easy. Here is some advice to help you cope with such a situation:. People around someone with a mental illness experience feelings such as anger, shame and guilt. These are normal reactions, which need to be expressed. Avoid building up resentment. Find people capable of listening with whom you can share your feelings without restraint or guilt. These could be good friends or a support group for close relations of people with mental illness.

    Your physical and mental wellbeing is important. Being healthy helps you stay balanced and cope better with the person suffering from mental illness. Follow advice for maintaining good mental health. Living with a person suffering from a mental illness can cause certain problems and interpersonal conflicts. If you are in such a situation, try to avoid solving all the problems you are experiencing at the same time. Instead, confront problems one at a time and find a simple solution for each.

    The more solutions you find, the more in control of the situation you will feel. There are always solutions.