Family Member With Mental Illness

Here's what's happening on the HealthyPlace site this week:

When A Family Member Has A Mental Illness

The letters we receive from family members could rip a hole in your soul.

"My wife emptied out our savings and retirement accounts and went on a $230,000, 3-day shopping spree. Carla is bipolar. I was extremely angry when I found about it. That was two weeks ago. Last night, she committed suicide."
- Dan

"My daughter's eating disorder has led to complete anarchy in our house. We've tried everything, therapy and hospitalization for her, therapy for us, all the time having to walk that fine line of utter frustration, our own sanity vs. hers. We've gone from living a good, middle-income life to being mortgaged to the hilt. Our youngest son is angry because attention has been diverted away from him and my husband and I are at odds over how to handle this. I'm scared to death of what's next."
- Monica

Having a family member with a mental illness can be very stressful and it's guaranteed you will be affected by their illness too.

A person with a psychiatric disorder often needs much love, help and support. At the same time, the problems, fears and behavior of your ill relative may strain your patience and your ability to cope.

So what's a family to do? Mental health professionals first suggest learning about the psychiatric disorder so you understand what you're dealing with. Getting counseling for yourself and attending support group meetings for families (NAMI, DBSA, CHADD, Mental Health America, AA and other addiction all have local support groups across America), where you can share the frustrations and get "insider" feedback, can also be very helpful.

Even being armed with a good understanding of your loved one's mental illness may not be enough to get you through the tough times, as you'll see on this Tuesday's HealthyPlace TV Show (more below).

Share Your Mental Health Experiences

Share your experiences, or respond to other people's audio posts, by calling our toll-free number (1-888-883-8045).

You can listen to what other people are saying by clicking on the gray title bars inside the widgets located on the "Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences" homepage, the HealthyPlace homepage, and the HealthyPlace Support Network homepage.

If you have any questions, write us at: info AT

"Mental Illness in the Family" On HealthyPlace TV

Rebecca's life is in tatters. Her daughter has Dissociative Identity Disorder and, so far, has revealed 19 alters ... and she's only 12 years old. It's cost Rebecca her marriage, her job, and she might even lose custody of her daughter. Her story and helpful suggestions for surviving mental illness in the family on Tuesday's HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show.

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Join us Tuesday, November 24, at 5:30p PT, 7:30 CST, 8:30 EST. The show airs live on our website. Rebecca will be taking your questions during the live show.

In the second half of the show, you get to ask Medical Director, Dr. Harry Croft, your personal mental health questions.

Coming in December on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show

  • Overeating: The Emotional Pain and How to Cope with It
  • OCD: Scrupulosity

If you would like to be a guest on the show or share you personal story in writing or via video, please write us at: producer AT

Click here for a list of previous HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Shows.

Coaching The Materialistic Child

Do you have "give me, give me" kids? In today's materialistic world, where what they see is what they want, how do you teach your children to be satisfied with what they have?

Just in time for the holidays, the Parenting Coach, Dr. Steven Richfield, has some ideas for turning your child from an "all-the-time getter" into at least a "sometimes giver." Coaching the Materialistic Child

back to: Mental-Health Newsletter Index

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2009, November 23). Family Member With Mental Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Last Updated: September 5, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

More Info