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Programmes to support family members and caregivers 

Programmes to support family members and caregivers
Programmes to support family members and caregivers

Amy L. Drapalski

and Lisa B. Dixon

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date: 07 July 2020

Most individuals with schizophrenia or other serious mental illnesses have regular contact with family members and these family members often provide substantial support and assistance to their ill relative (Chien et al., 2006; Hackman and Dixon, 2008; Resnick et al., 2005). Although providing support to a relative with mental illness is often rewarding on many levels, caring for a relative with a mental illness can also be extremely demanding and can lead to feeling of being overwhelmed, frustrated, worried, and depressed. Oftentimes, limited knowledge of mental illness, mental health treatments, and the mental health service system coupled with the increased demands associated with taking on a caregiver role can contribute to significant family stress, distress, and burden. In turn, this increased burden may impede a family’s ability to continue to provide the support and assistance that their ill relative may need to help effectively manage an illness and achieve recovery goals. Several programmes have been developed in an effort to address the varying needs and preferences of family members and caregivers of individuals with serious mental illness. This chapter aims to discuss the potential impact of mental illness on the family and its relationship to family needs, to highlight the basic tenets or principles of effective family programmes, and to describe several prominent family interventions and outline the evidence for their effectiveness.

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