Support for family or caregivers

May 3, 2017

Support comes in many forms. These include understanding co-workers, caring family members, a supportive work environment, good friends, and a positive relationship with a therapist or medical team. Of course, people facing all kinds of challenges benefit from these supports, but they are particularly important for those living with mental illness.

We know that one of the most important elements in recovery from mental illness is family support.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health says that non-medical factors like supportive family members and access to good affordable housing play a huge role in helping people recover. But caring for loved ones can be challenging. Families or caregivers can find themselves overwhelmed, confused, frustrated, or simply exhausted. Over time, this can lead to members having to take time off themselves.

The Canadian Mental Health Association gives a good explanation of why support groups work and resources for finding them. 

Support groups are a safe place to share your experiences, learn from others, and connect with people who understand what you’re going through. Some support groups are more formal, and led by a mental health professional, while others are more casual groups of peers.

Unions could set up their own support programs or provide information about already existing support groups in the region. We can also ensure that we have trained members who can help provide support to members with a loved one who has mental illness. It can also be helpful to invite guests who can talk about subjects of interest to members and families. Before setting up a support group, make sure it will be a positive and safe space that doesn’t stigmatize mental illness.

For more on where to get help and support groups, you can find a list of places to community resources here