(NC) Faced with a loved one with mental illness, family members are
often searching for what they can do to help and support their loved
Fortunately, Dr. Randall White, medical director of Vancouver
Community Mental Health Services, has some tips for people in this
Find out what medical information you can access.
Generally, patients have a right to keep their medical information
private. But if a person becomes certified under the B.C. Provincial
Mental Health Act, then medical staff can typically share some details
with family members to assist in treatment.
Communicate that you care and want to help. Let your
loved one know that you’re there to be supportive. Keep conversations
positive. Sometimes a person may act in a way that compromises their
relationships, but it’s important to continue to let them know that you
are there to help. Families are a crucial support in helping a patient
succeed in maintaining their wellness.
Be willing to set boundaries. At some point your
loved one may begin to exhibit behaviours or thoughts that are too
challenging for you to manage or understand. You can still let them know
you care, but setting boundaries is important in helping you continue
providing support. Find ways to build your own support system through
supportive family members, mental health counselling or a local support
group. By helping yourself, you can better help your loved one.
B.C. Schizophrenia Society provides tips, courses, workshops and
support to family members as they determine the best way to help their
loved ones. Find out more at bcss.org.