Mental health is a family affair: Here’s what you need to know
When someone is struggling with mental health, it can also affect those around them.
For this reason, families are particularly susceptible, and a mental health condition for a parent or child can create challenges for the rest of the family.
But acknowledging, understanding, and communicating can help overcome these challenges. Here are five things to keep in mind about mental health for families:
1. Mental illness is more prevalent than you might think.
Approximately 1 in 5 Canadians are living with some type of mental illness, and 50 per cent of the population will have experienced one by the time they turn 40. So there’s comfort in knowing that if you or a loved one has been diagnosed, a mental illness doesn’t necessarily compromise wellbeing. You can thrive despite living with a medical diagnosis, and you’re certainly not alone.
2. Support starts at home.
If a loved one is suffering from mental health issues, the natural impulse is to ensure they’re cared for. But what about everyone else? For example, if one parent is dealing with declining mental health, their partner may take on additional responsibilities, both as a caregiver to them and to their dependents.
Talking to mental health professionals via TELUS Health Virtual Care about your own struggles or how to be there for family members can help with the resulting anxiety, burnout, depression, and more.
3. Getting help can be cost-friendly.
Even if the costs of care are manageable, mental health challenges can still take a financial toll on families. Whether the person who needs assistance is an adult or a child, a primary earner may need to take time away from work to help, reducing family income.
Having financial worries in addition to concerns about a loved one’s wellbeing can feel overwhelming, but TELUS Health Virtual Care is available to caregivers seeking support with stress management. Many benefits plans will reimburse the fees for specialist appointments.
4. In particular, mental health challenges impact youth.
Children offer a glimpse into how transmissible poor mental health can be. According to one study, 1 out of 14 children has a caregiver with poor mental health, and these children are more likely to experience a mental, emotional, or developmental disability as a consequence.
Considering that nearly 50 per cent of people with mental disorders worldwide experience the onset of their disorder before age 18, it’s imperative to check in with your children to understand how they’re feeling. Reach out to TELUS Health Virtual Care if additional support is necessary, or for advice on how to best navigate the available resources.
5. Frequent and honest communication is key.
If someone in your family is diagnosed with a mental illness or struggling with poor mental health, remember to be patient, check in regularly, and speak openly.
You can also help connect them with professional mental health support. TELUS Health Virtual Care offers you and your immediate family 24/7 on-demand access to primary healthcare professionals across Canada. Start a consultation today to find out more.