Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness May Extend To Caregivers Who Find Themselves Alone And Needing Help

Who is the face behind the curtain staring into the rain? Currently, 8.4 million Americans are providing care to someone with a mental health issue, reports the National Alliance for Caregiving. Their new survey suggests many of these caregivers are struggling with finding the right support services, while finding themselves stigmatized and too often excluded from their loved one’s treatment plan.

Though an individual must suffer illness alone, entire families often share the burden of sickness together. A great deal has been written about the mentally ill, but little is known about their unpaid caregivers, most often relatives, and the challenges they face. To take a closer look at families dealing with moderate-to-serious mental illness, a research team designed an online questionnaire and surveyed 1,601 participants across the nation.

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Good article. I haven’t had a good caregiver in my life, for most of my life, and when you are missing that, it becomes profoundly apparent just how valuable and significant it is. Caregivers deserve a lot of attention and care, too.

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Moved to News.

(Wearing moderator hat)

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I have mixed emotions when it comes to my family, I know it’s complicated, far more complex than anything can make sense of, I know that. I mean I know what my father said he went through sitting on a couch watching orderlies beat me senseless and bloody for simply standing and reaching for a door handle during my first purported hospitalization.

My mother, the same woman who went out and bought me the book “Toxic Psychiatry” Who showed me photographs of myself of times I had no memory of which later disappeared at my fathers hands. Same woman who tried twice to have me committed to the state hospital. One of those times the doctor at the psych ward warned me of her scheme and advised me to check out and take off.

Same people who watched me suffer all hell and no sleep for four months before out of the blue having the chief of police show up one day in another attempt at commitment.

I guess it’s the love I’ve known all my life, family, lovers, friends: multidimensional, two faced, and deeper and more complex than any language could do justice. I understand of course that there are family members out there that simply are desperate to get there loved ones help and have few resources or advice.

NAMI Family to Family is a good group if it exists in you’re location.

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I am both a caregiver and a person with MI. Yesterday it was me having a breakdown and someone else saying they were going to call the police on me. Which is fine except that my family member with sz was just a few rooms away for some of it and I know how stressful life is anyway. I feel bad for increasing my family member’s environmental stress.

@mussel, I go to NAMI family support group and the people are supportive. All the family members who participate are clueless and wish to help, and all of us have our own limitations.

my partner is the one who takes care of me, she tries anyway. we discuss things about my treatment plan. When I can’t call my doctors because i’m having a breakdown she calls for me. I’ve tried to find support for her but she says she doesn’t need it.

My caregiver was my mother. She moved me about from mental hospital to mental hospital until I learned to move myself about in a similar way. She let me into her home as a guest after I had finished with the hospitals. She died with me, among other people, on her mind, I suppose. I would say my caregiver now is my stepfather, although he is operating at a distance, not right here with me from day to day. He’s in Florida. I’m in Maryland. He pays for the roof over my head. He gives me some money every month. He is there on the phone when I call him up with my various problems. He will be here with me this summer, looking out for me, tending to my various needs in an offhanded way. He’s 93. I’m 74. Can you imagine anything stranger?

It’s been demonstrated in research that primary health care providers are more likely to be stigmatizing than mental health care providers, which I think is due to perhaps the way medicine focuses on pathology and people who practice it often enjoy good health, higher intellect, and drive for success.

I think that it’s a nasty web of stuff going on including the issues of compliance and finances. I myself have had good finances to back my treatment (live with my parents and looks like I will be getting loans to live on in grad school), and my extended family is always there if I am in need, they are quite wealthy. I don’t have to worry about getting to see my doctors for treatment. Many obstacles would have to be overcome for that to happen to me. That’s what I mean.

I think that most psychiatric illnesses are somewhat contagious. I really do. By that I mean that the effects are not limited to the person with the illness at all, in fact I think most of the time, their family and friends and significant others feel the pain too. Like with autism and how clinicians react and treat ASD (autism spectrum disorder) kids differently and just can’t help it- the experience is abnormal for everyone involved.

It’s a challenging issue. Stigma is a hot topic. It’s my area of research and I enjoy it, however “nasty” the reality is shown to be, there is progress and hope.

I do what I can by demonstrating that I can and do use my potential and have insight and motivation as well as good intellectual ability as do other competitive students. It’s dark, I mean my head is one specimen of things gone wrong, but there is light in my life. Like right now, I have the rest of the day free because I have worked ahead, and I stand with straight A’s, good research (as evaluated by others, not my opinion), and physical health. I mean it’s pretty ■■■■■■ up at times though. I don’t pretend that I am perfectly normal, and that’s part of standing with my conditions (ASD and SCZ and trauma maybe PTSD but not severe as most cases of it).

Sorry, I just like talking about this stuff!


He sounds like a good man.