When someone is suffering from a mental illness and/or substance use, it often impacts the entire family.
Mental illness and/or substance are like a droplet of water that creates countless ripples throughout the family/support system. With this in mind, it can be helpful to remember that it is okay to seek support for ourselves, for others in the family and to learn as much as possible about the illness and/or substance use. Reach out for support; the illness and/or substance use affects everyone involved. At Family Support Services, we believe that you also are going through your own recovery journey just as your loved one is in their recovery journey.
In this section, you will hear from other family members about their experiences supporting a loved one with a mental illness and/or substance use. Additionally, there is a family toolkit and family guideline manual that will help you navigate your journey in your supportive role.
Family toolkit - HeretoHelp
In this toolkit, you will learn about:
- Understanding mental and substance use disorders;
- Supporting recovery from a mental or substance use disorder;
- Communication and problem-solving skills;
- Caring for yourself and other family members; and
- Children and youth in the school system.
HeretoHelp is a project of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Substance Use Information. BC Partners work is funded by BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority.
Family guidelines – National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEABPD)
This family guideline is a resource for families/friends who are supporting a loved one diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder (BPD) or someone who struggles with emotional dysregulation without the formal diagnosis of BPD. In this guideline, you will learn communication skills/tips that will help to decrease the emotional reactivity that can often happen when communicating with someone who has BPD and/or dysregulation.
The family guidelines were written by John G. Gunderson, M.D. and Cynthia Berkowitz, M.D. They were published by the New England Personality Disorder Association.
Videos and voice recordings
Impact on families: Family guide to mental health recovery - the Mission Media Company Inc.
This video focuses on how families may react when a mental health challenge appears and the first steps to find support and treatment.
The Journey Home is a feature documentary produced as part of the family guide to mental health recovery project by the Mission Media Company Inc.
Responsible for your own recovery: Family guide to mental health recovery - the Mission Media Company Inc.
This video, produced by the Mission Media Company Inc., is an interview clip from the Family guide to mental health recovery, where a family social worker shares her perspectives on a whole family's experience.
First steps to recovery: Family guide to mental health recovery - the Mission Media Company Inc.
In this video, produced by the Mission Media Company Inc., you will hear from families about their first steps to recovery in their supportive role. It's a scene from the Journey Home feature documentary, which is part of the family guide to mental health recovery.
When mental illness enters the family - Dr. Lloyd Sederer
In this filmed TEDx event, Dr. Lloyd Sederer discusses four things we all need to be aware of to help those who may be struggling with an illness.
Lloyd I. Sederer, M.D., is medical director of the New York State Office of Mental Health.