Impact of Mental Illness on Families Essay

3212 Words Sep 16th, 2010 13 Pages
When mental illness first strikes, family members may deny the person has a continuing illness. During the acute episode family members will be alarmed by what is happening to their loved one. When the episode is over and the family member returns home, everyone will feel a tremendous sense of relief. All involved want to put this painful time in the past and focus on the future. Many times, particularly when the illness is a new phenomenon in the family, everyone may believe that since the person is now doing very well that symptomatic behavior will never return. They may also look for other answers, hoping that the symptoms were caused by some other physical problem or external stressors that can be removed. For example, some families …show more content…
A consumer describes how his priest has helped this to happen in his congregation.

St. Peter's has established a health ministry. One of the charges of the health ministry was to establish a mental health subcommittee. One of its responsibilities is to continually bring to the congregation, through the Sunday bulletins, items about mental illness. We also put books in the library and a poster about support groups on the bulletin board. We let people know that others are up front about this. So, maybe they will come out of the closet and ask for the help they need from those of us who deal with this every day.
Understanding Frustration, Helplessness and Anxiety
It is difficult for anyone to deal with strange thinking and bizarre and unpredictable behavior. Imagine what it must be for families of people with mental illness. It is bewildering, frightening and exhausting. Even when the person is stabilized on medication, the apathy and lack of motivation can be frustrating. A mother mentions how her daughter, when asked to put her clothes in the closet, looked at the freshly pressed blouses for over an hour before making a move to hang them up. What was a matter of routine for this young woman in the past, now seemed to take an inordinate amount of time. Even though the parent knew it was not so, she had to fight the feeling that her daughter was deliberately not doing this one, small task.
Another parent described how
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