When a family member or loved one has a mental health problem, it can be worrying for everyone involved. It is important to also look after your own mental health, and to try not to take on more than you feel comfortable with.
Look after yourself
Talk to someone
Try to have someone to talk to about the things that worry you. Being in a supportive role can be confusing and challenging at times and it’s okay to ask for help.
A number of community and voluntary organisations run support groups for family, friends and carers. Support groups give you the opportunity to meet other people who support family or friends with mental health problems. The groups provide a safe, supportive environment to share experiences and ideas for managing the unique challenges of mental health problems. Support groups are run by AWARE, SHINE and Bodywhys. You can also search for local services.
H.S.E. supports include behavioural family therapy, home care and day centre care. Contact a G.P. to access these supports. With agreement from your loved one, it might also be useful to talk to your local H.S.E. mental health team. The team will listen to your experience and may be able to offer practical advice or help.
Education courses aim to help family, friends and carers to learn more about mental health problems and to manage the symptoms and difficulties encountered. The H.S.E., Shine and Mental Health Ireland run education courses for family, friends and carers. Contact a local G.P. to access H.S.E. supports.
HSE.ie provides a dedicated site with information for carers and signposting to relevant services. You can find out more at www.hse.ie/carers.
The H.S.E. also published an information booklet for families and friends who support people experiencing mental health problems. You can access The Journey Together booklet here.