Why family members need more support

November 25, 2016


Family members affected by mental health, alcohol and other drug problems often believe that they are not the people who need help. The word 'help' is loaded for family members because it conjures up ideas about them needing therapy or 'fixing' them rather than focusing on the person diagnosed with a mental health, alcohol or other drug problem. It is true that some family members may need therapy. But mostly families just need some additional support and guidance to deal with the difficult and challenging world of mental health, alcohol and other drug problems. 


Unfortunately, family members often quietly think, 'why do I need help when the focus should be on my [brother, daughter, mother, uncle...] who has the mental health, alcohol or other drug problem?'  Well this kind of thinking is faulty because what gets forgotten here is that mental health, alcohol and other drug problems are so complex and difficult that the more support families get the better for everyone.


The 'double whammy' here is that family members caring for adults often get left out when it comes to the care and treatment of someone with a mental health, alcohol or other drug problem which means they lack understanding about the problem and they struggle to cope because they have been (and are) 'in it for the long haul'. Family members can feel alone, become very stressed and struggle for years to care for others and cope.  Family members definitely need more support. And reaching out for support is worth it!

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