What to do, “When Mental Illness Enters the Family”

What do we do now, now that mental illness has entered our family?  Dr. Lloyd Sederer’s video “When Mental Illness Enters the Family”  is a Godsend. In this short, 15-minute video, Dr. Sederer addresses family members of people with mental illnesses and gives them clear and doable tips on how to live harmoniously (mostly) and wisely (usually) with the ill family member. His four main steps to cope with the effects of mental illness are right on target.  I can write this because of the lived experience I have had with two members of my family of origin. One person is still living, a sibling,  and  I work to understand better how to provide this person true support and health needs in an integrated manner without sacrificing my health in the process. The recommendations in “When mental illness enters the family” are a good beginning for people starting out on that road – Helping to care for someone with mental illness – as well as a good review for experienced family members.

Dr Sederer is a psychiatrist who is the medical director of the New York State Office of Mental Health –, i.e., Chief psychiatrist for the nation’s largest state mental health organization. He was the  medical director and executive vice president of Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital in Massachusetts. He is also the mental health editor and columnist for The Huffington Post.

I also heartily recommend readers who have a mental health condition and family members of people with a mental health problem explore NAMI’s (National Alliance on Mental Illness) website for all the valuable resources and information that are gathered there.

As I worked and volunteered for NAMI on the state and local level for many years (20) here in Wisconsin, I will post a resource article with thoughts about the NAMI website and programs soon.