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Abstract

When a loved one is diagnosed with serious mental illness (Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Schizoaffective Disorder, or Major Depression) family members are faced with new challenges. The family must provide support, act as an advocate with treatment providers, tolerate unpredictable and unusual behaviors, and, in some cases, involve the legal system to achieve inpatient hospitalization or mandate treatment. The family must also grieve for the losses caused by the illness: loss of goals and dreams, loss of abilities, loss of health. Unfortunately, the family must also cope with the stigma of mental illness. Despite evidence to the contrary, our society continues to blame persons with serious mental illness and their families for the illness, and stigma makes both treatment and recovery more difficult.

Author's Biographies

Cynthia Pattillo, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and has been employed by New Horizons Community Service Board for thirteen years. She is the Director of Emergency Services for New Horizons, and also serves as the Staff Development Officer and Chair of the Performance Improvement Committee. Cyndy graduated from Tift College (B.A.) and Auburn University (M.S. and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology).

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