Having family involved in mental health care is linked to better outcomes. It helps people stay in treatment longer and keeps them engaged with their respect.
Family involvement can help families better understand mental illness and promote psychoeducation. It also allows them to develop resilience in the face of trauma.
People in recovery can benefit from many types of support, including peer support and relationships with family members who understand their experiences. This support can help individuals overcome stigma and discrimination, increase access to mental health treatment, and feel more confident and hopeful.
The culture, and even the medical treatment system, tends to isolate people with mental illness instead of encouraging connection. However, research has shown that connections can be a powerful predictor of long-term recovery from mental health problems.
Participants in this study described a range of excellent and bad family-related experiences. Nevertheless, overall, they believed that they contributed to their recovery. They were also optimistic about clinicians who supported them in talking with their families about their illnesses.
This work suggests that to promote recovery, family psychiatric care should provide clinicians with the skills and knowledge they need to help individuals decide how to involve their families. Individuals should be able to negotiate with their clinicians what role they want them to play and in which way, taking into account different developmental or life stages.
Creating a Supportive Environment
Relying on family support during psychiatric recovery can be challenging. However, research shows that supportive, solid relationships are one of the top predictors of recovery for individuals with severe mental illnesses. Unfortunately, many people with mental illness are told that they cannot ask for or receive the help they need from their family.
This is especially true for people with a history of mental health stigma. Family members must educate themselves about a loved one’s mental illness. Education can also help family members recognize early signs of mental illness so they can seek professional assistance quickly.
This is why many offer a program built on extensive research about how to support family members during psychiatric recovery. The program combines psychoeducation with opportunities to connect with other families experiencing similar challenges. This combination helps to reduce feelings of isolation, increase resilience, and foster a sense of hope.
Developing Healthy Habits
For many people, family includes more than just a spouse and children. It includes parents, friends, siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles. It also provides adult relationships not related by blood but by strength of connection – and those who are there to help in a crisis. Whether by choice or chance, these critical relationships can support recovery.
One study found that empowering family members to participate in their loved one’s mental health treatment can reduce consumers’ stress and increase their hope. This can complement the effect of recovery-oriented services that promote personal recovery.
The findings of the previous studies support the notion that a holistic approach to mental wellness is necessary and should involve both personal and relational components. However, the specific ways individuals and their families engage in this process remain to be seen. This is where further research is needed.
Creating a Sense of Belonging
A sense of belonging is a unique experience related to the need for positive regard and the desire for interpersonal connection. Belonging is facilitated and hindered by the context, people, and experiences of one’s environment.
Belonging may involve a sense of connection to a safe and supportive environment, such as a recovery-based program. However, belonging is also about feeling accepted for who you are. This includes the need for an accepting environment where you can discuss your struggles without being judged, such as a peer support group or family psychoeducation.
Participants in two studies reported that family recovery interventions provide a sense of belonging for families by allowing them to talk about their struggles with mental illness while receiving quality individualized care and psychoeducation. Family recovery interventions that are age-appropriate and gate-keeping free can increase family participation and support in the recovery journey.