Supporting a family member with a mental health issue

Living with someone with a mental health condition can be tough sometimes. But there are ways to cope, and we're here to support you through it.

Living with someone with a mental health issue

When someone you live with has a mental health issue, it can feel like you need to be there to support them. You might:

  • have to go to appointments with them
  • have to look after them
  • worry about other people's reactions
  • struggle to concentrate in school or to see friends
  • get scared about whether your family member is okay
  • feel guilty about wanting to do more
  • want more time for yourself.

Remember you don't have to cope alone, our counsellors are always here for you if you need someone to talk to.

Things to remember:

  • if you're living with someone with a mental illness, you can always get support from Childline 
  • it's okay to make time for yourself and do things you enjoy or see friends
  • finding out about your family member's mental illness can help you feel more in control
  • it's normal to feel upset or angry sometimes
  • you can get help from family, school or an adult you trust.

Tips for looking after yourself

Having a sibling with a mental health issue

Having a brother or sister with a mental health worry can affect you in lots of different ways.

You might:

  • feel protective of them or like you’re responsible for them
  • get embarrassed if you’re in public
  • worry about how their mental health affects your family
  • not get all of the support you need or feel like you’re not important
  • feel angry about how they behave or that this has happened to them
  • worry about getting unwell too.

Try our top tips to help you cope

1. Ask for time with your family away from your brother or sister. It's okay to want time alone with your family.
2. Make a plan of what to do if things get too much. If your brother or sister gets angry, loud or upset, it can help to know how to react. You could make a plan with your family on what you should do, and when to get someone else to help you.
3. Listen to your brother or sister. It can help to listen to how they are feeling. And knowing that you’re there to support them can help them feel more able to cope.
4. Speak to someone you trust. You always deserve to feel supported. Whether it’s with someone in your family, a friend or an adult you trust, it can help to talk.

Will they get better?

Lots of people with mental health conditions can feel better if they’re given the right support. But you're important too. If you’re ever worried about the future, it’s important to speak to an adult you trust.

Remember you can speak to a Childline counsellor about anything that might be happening.