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Role played by family members in the care of Mental Health

Quoted in Mid-Day on the role played by family members in understanding and supporting Mental health.

15th March, 2021


the immediate family plays a integral role in the quality of care received by the individual and influences even their chances of relapsing, says Dr Nahid Dave, a psychiatrist at Thought Matters.

Dr Dave highlights a phrase called ‘expressed emotions’, which describes the criticism and hostility sufferers receive regarding their mental illness.

This, she says, has been identified as the leading cause of relapses, even in more severe psychotic disorders. “Family members who constantly remind the individual of the emotional and financial burden their mental illness is causing or has caused the extended family unit are often directly responsible for such relapses,” she clarifies.

Don’t make it about yourself: It is common for family members to experience guilt or anxiety when a loved one discloses emotional distress. Make sure you aren’t displacing these on him/her — if you need help coping with your own emotional state, address that independently, advises Dr Dave.

Treatment versus cure: While certain disorders, especially those that are diagnosed and treated at their onset, can be cured, other long-standing traumas or deep-seated personality traits can potentially never completely be eliminated. Understand and respect the same, says Dr Dave. Some days may be better than the others; this does not negate the existence or severity of the mental illness, she emphasises.

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