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.
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Pattillo, C. (2003). Serious Mental Illness and the Family: How Can Mental Health Professionals Help?. Perspectives In Learning, 4 (1). Retrieved from http://csuepress.columbusstate.edu/pil/vol4/iss1/11