Family Members of Adults with Serious Mental Illness

Family supportFamily caregivers for adults with Serious Mental Illness (SMI) face remarkable challenges providing appropriate support for the person with the disorder. SMI alters the developmental process, often starting in adolescence or young adulthood, with consequences for family functioning. Family members often feel responsible, or may be held responsible by legal and social service systems. The burden of care can be substantial, and often lasts a lifetime for committed family members, including parents of adults with SMI, spouses, partners, siblings, and, with later onset disorders, children.

A summary of interventions available to assist caregivers for adults with SMI and other family members has been developed by the Family Institute for Education, Practice and Research

Education, training, and support services available through the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

A website for children in a household with a mentally ill member from the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

The University of Illinois at Chicago offers the Journey of (JOH) Family Education Course.

Caregivers and Mental Illness: Living with Schizophrenia (World Federation for Mental Health, 2014) considers caring for those with severe mental illness across the lifespan, including a section on caregivers of older adults.