Title

The impact of mental illness on family members

RIS ID

64152

Publication Details

Wilson, I. G. (2001). The impact of mental illness on family members. Australian Family Physician, 30 (9), 899-901.

Abstract

Background: Mental illness is a common problem managed in general practice. It is often not appreciated that the effects of mental illness extend beyond the patient to the family. The effect of a serious mental illness on the health of family members has been studied, but not in relation to the types of mental illnesses seen in general practice. Objective: The author uses the literature to examine his experiences of factors which affect families who contain a mentally ill member. In doing so he examines issues relating to the care of such families. Some means by which assistance may be given to families will be outlined in a paper to be published in this journal later this year. Discussion: Family members experience a number of stresses. The common stresses seen in general practice include the perceived sensitivity of a mentally ill patient, the perceived problems with medication, a fear of suicide and a restriction of personal time. Limited evidence suggests that the stresses have a negative effect on the health of family members

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