When your sibling has a mental health issue

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It’s great to hear about Rethink’s Siblings Connect which took place on 2nd March 2013.

Getting support for siblings of those affected by mental illness is often overlooked. It can be a very frightening and alienating experience and without professional advice can be so hard to understand.

You may feel angry and neglected as the mentally ill sibling takes up the time, energy and resources of the family and you may feel guilty for the way you feel. It’s important to understand that these feelings are ok and find a space to talk about how you are feeling.

It’s important to look at how you are managing your well being and levels of stress. It’s important to make time for what you like doing and remember you are not responsible for your sibling and can only be supportive.

Some ways which can be helpful in supporting a mentally ill sibling include:

  • being involved with your sibling and being understanding
  • learning more about their illness and how it may affect them
  • offering to accompany them to gp or CMHT appointments
  • talking openly with other family members and your sibling about how best to support them
  • be hopeful things can improve

Rethink have developed some brilliant resources for siblings which include a siblings forum and information about workshops for siblings.

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