"The illness turned my once proud, strong, loving husband of 29 years into a stranger"
"I never cry, I'm usually a positive person and quite strong.
But watching my mother struggle so much totally consumed me"
"The hardest part was accepting my son needed medical help"
"Her daughter was diagnosed two years ago, but it wasn't until recently that she learnt how to cope and more importantly how to live with her child's illness"
Family and friends play a very important role in supporting and caring for people with mental health conditions. Although every personal relationship is unique, there are aspects of supporting a person with a mental illness to get help and recover that are common to many people. It is common for people not to discuss mental health conditions with family members or friends because of fear,
lack of knowledge and stigma.
Family and friends may be involved in different stages of the person's experience with mental illness from helping them to recognize the early signs to accessing treatment, working towards recovery and managing emergency situations. Caring for, living and working with or being friends with a person who experiences mental health issues is sometimes not easy and it can be hard to know what to say and what to do.
Additionally, below is a list of practical day-to-day ways you can support someone who may be experiencing mental illness:
It would be unhelpful to:
You can visit Mental Health in Women for special advice for spouse of women with postpartum depression or psychosis, which relates to mental health conditions during pregnancy and after childbirth.
It is important for people who are caring for someone experiencing mental illness to look after themselves, both physically and emotionally and ensure that they get support for themselves by talking to a family physician or spiritual leader.
For more information you can
download resources which provide:
A guide for people caring for a family member or friend living with a mental illness
Advice on how to have a conversation about mental health with a child or friend you are worried about
Support and acceptance from family and friends is essential to the recovery of people experiencing mental health conditions.
Below are some reflections from people in Qatar on family and friend relationships in relation to their journey with mental illness.
"I started telling my husband and parents about how I feel. They thought that I am just being sensitive and I should think positively. I tried, but I couldn't control my fear"
"My sister is all the time in her room, I wouldn't say that she's crazy, don't talk to her, we try resolving the issue… I don't think that people would neglect any person if he/she needs medical support… they would encourage them… there is more awareness than before
"I got an anxiety problem and my family didn't know how to treat me and help me…"
"Friends wish you luck and to be healthy soon and leave you… I needed friends at that time"
"My family called me lazy and my friends stopped hanging out with
me,they told me I depress them'"