Families Affected by Mental Illness

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A lot of mental challenges make the life of a patient miserable since they are unable to live a normal life. The differences between the life of a mentally stable and mentally ill person are different, and their quality of life differs. The challenges affect not only the patient but also their families. The families suffer stress which then develops into more advanced psychological problems. The social distance between a patient and relatives also increases once the patient becomes a burden to them when their lives demand support by other people. The society stigmatizes the patients and their family, and this makes the life of the entire family uncomfortable (Thornicroft, 2006). Different families use different approaches to solve the challenges that come with mental illness of a family member. Also, most of the families need different kinds of help such as counseling, financial and medical depending on capabilities of the families.

Due to lack of financial abilities and believing in traditional healers, many of the families chose the traditional healers over professionals who deal with mentally challenged patients. However, there are others who never seek any help, and it remains unclear why they never take any action towards ensuring they seek assistance so that they can recover (Link, et al, 2001). However, although many people know that their relatives are suffering from mental illness, they never consider it as a serious matter. Some consider it as a curse, witchcraft, and possession by evil spirits. They at times seek divine intervention from the religious leaders. The patient is accused of being the main contributor. The majority of patients never seek support for their patients because they fear victimization. Even those who have relatives who know how to deal with mental illness find it difficult to humble themselves and seek support since they expect the disorder to heal on its own. Consequently, only a few of the cases are brought to the attention of the relevant authorities. The burden of the illness is mainly on the shoulders of the family members, and they also suffer stress.


  1. The needs of the relatives with people living with mental illness are mostly neglected because only a few individuals and institutions are willing to listen to their issues and the challenges they go through in their day-to-day life. The best outcomes can be obtained if people can start addressing the needs of such families in the public domain. Addressing such challenges in a public platform will create awareness and well-wishers will come up and volunteer to drive the agenda further to personal levels.
  2. Nursing professionals should also join the efforts and help their clients understand more about the topic. Awareness will create some improvement regarding skills the victim have and how they use the tips to improve their quality of life. The skills will include how to do parenting, and how to overcome pressures from family members and friends.
  3. The needy families should be offered assistance for them to get awareness about institutions that can help them.


Many families are going through psychological disorder because they have mentally ill patients. There a considerably large number of mentally ill individuals. The current estimations state that people affected by mental illness are as high as four hundred and fifty million. Out of the four hundred and fifty million people affected by the illness, thirty-seven individuals have dementia, twenty-four million people have schizophrenia, and twelve one hundred and twenty-one individuals suffer from depression. In 2001, about twelve percent of the disease affecting human in the world was people suffering from mental challenges. The unipolar disorder is estimated to become the second disease leading to disabilities by the year 2020. The relatives are the once who bear the responsibility of looking after the mentally ill patients since they are unable to carry out most of their daily personal duties.


Many psychological challenges result from the mental illnesses. The problems resulting from mental illness include deteriorating standards of life for patients and relatives (?–stman, &Kjellin, 2002). The society abandons families with mentally ill patients because of their patient. They suffer stigmatization and humiliation by the public because of the patients. Mentally sick individuals go through a lot of problems which affect their lives and behaviors. They are times involved in bad activities such as crimes. Some of them end up in prison since it becomes very hard for the family members to control their behaviors.

Population Affected by mental illness:

The total number of people who suffer directly or indirectly from the diseases is estimated to be forty-two million five hundred thousand (Saunders, 2003). Out of the total population of grown up individuals in The United States, eighteen percent of them are affected, either directly or indirectly, by mental illnesses.

Target Population:

Mental disorders are seen in people of all ages. But it usually starts when people are at their young ages. However, it is not clear what age group is mostly affected by mental illness. It, therefore, becomes hard to know the group the preventive measures will focus on.


Families who suffer psychological problems because they have mentally ill patients can be assisted by offering them with family therapies. Family therapy serves two purposes. The first purpose is to create awareness which will help people offer support to the patients going through different treatments procedures (Corrigan, et al, 2001). With the necessary support from the whole communities, patients and their families can stick to the recovery process. Getting critical supports eradicates relapse. The second goal is to ensure the relatives get necessary emotional support so that they can recover quickly (Phelan, 2005).


Different families have differently believed, and they require personalized strategies. Those individuals offering support need to listen to those they want to support and understand how they will deal with their beliefs to encourage them to participate in such activities (Goldberg, & Huxley, 2003). The strategies will be adjusted depending on the level of success realized. The families should have the liberty to accept or reject proposed strategies and recommend others if they are mentally capable. Support personnel should not become the victims to attend the support sessions, and they should be allowed to decide when to attend (Hinshaw, 2009). The main objective will be to let help victims recover without discouraging them or making them feel like the programs are forced into them.



The program supported under this proposal will run for one year. Within the one year, the first month will be dedicated to registering patients and the affected families. After the registration program is over, then the training and therapy will start. By the end of the twelve months, the families will have received enough training and counseling, and they will be in a position to offer advice to other affected individuals. The counseling will offer mental support to ill individuals, and as a result, there will be reduced suicide cases.

Integrated treatment combined with early intervention

The program will run for twelve months. The first month will focus on registering sick and affected individuals. Once they are registered, the staff will support them, and they will implement health policies developed by the group through consultation with the affected families and individuals. Every individual is expected to have recovered in six months.

Recovery services

To help the affected individuals improve their quality of life, they will be offered services that will uplift them and offer a better life and prevent lapses. Recovery services will be offered from the sixth month to those who complete the counseling program. But those who cannot raise finances for basic needs will be given some money to help them pay for basic needs and motivate them to take part in the program.

Those who complete the program will be offered jobs, housing, and other support services that will be run by their peers. This service will be offered to those who have a frail family support and have no source of income.


Thornicroft, G. (2006). Shunned: discrimination against people with mental illness. New York.

Saunders, J. C. (2003). Families living with severe mental illness: A literature review. Issues in mental health nursing, 24(2), 175-198.

Goldberg, D., & Huxley, P. (Eds.). (2003). Mental illness in the community: the pathway to psychiatric care (Vol. 3). Psychology Press.

Corrigan, P. W., Edwards, A. B., Green, A., Diwan, S. L., & Penn, D. L. (2001). Prejudice, social distance, and familiarity with mental illness. Schizophrenia bulletin, 27(2), 219.

Phelan, J. C. (2005). Geneticization of Deviant Behavior and Consequences for Stigma: The Case of Mental Illness —. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 46(4), 307-322.

–stman, M., & Kjellin, L. (2002). Stigma by association. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 181(6), 494-498.

Hinshaw, S. P. (2009). The mark of shame: Stigma of mental illness and an agenda for change. Oxford University Press.

World Health Organization. (2003). Investing in mental health.

Link, B. G., Struening, E. L., Neese-Todd, S., Asmussen, S., & Phelan, J. C. (2001). Stigma as a barrier to recovery: The consequences of stigma for the self-esteem of people with mental illnesses. Psychiatric services, 52(12), 1621-1626.

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Families Affected By Mental Illness. (2018, Dec 26). Retrieved June 25, 2024 , from

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