When a friend or family member develops a mental health condition, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Many Americans have experienced caring for a person with mental illness. 1 in 5 Americans lives with a serious mental health condition. Mental health professionals have effective treatments for most of these conditions, yet in any given year, only 60% of people with a mental illness get mental health care.
As a result, family members and caregivers often play a large role in helping and supporting them. Millions of people have experienced the thoughts and questions you might be having now.
You may be trying to help a family member who doesn’t have access to care or doesn’t want help. Or you may want to learn how to support and encourage someone who has been hospitalized or experienced a similar mental health crisis.
We realize that the challenges of mental illness do not only affect an individual’s family members but also friends, teachers, neighbors, coworkers and others in the community. Here we use the terms family member and caregiver interchangeably to refer to someone giving emotional, financial or practical support to a person with a mental health condition. Whether you’re providing a lot of assistance or very little, the information here can help you better understand the issues that you might face.