Support Forum

SANE Support Forum

How do you help someone to help themselves?

If you're concerned about, or care for, someone with mental illness
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 2:20 pm

How do you help someone to help themselves?

Postby Haze9229 » Tue May 13, 2014 2:10 pm

My mum has been suffering from some form of mental illness for nearly 10 years now which has grown progressively worse.
Although I think deep down she knows that something is wrong, getting her to acknowledge this and seek help has proved impossible so far, so the illness is still undiagnosed.

She has changed completely to become a Jekyll & Hyde type character and I so desperately miss my real mum (rather than the person the illness has turned her into) and want to help her get better.

Unfortunately due to her hostile behaviour, we no longer have a close relationship and she interprets everything as a personal attack rather than an attempt to help. She is very paranoid, abusive and had been very violent in the past. The physical violence has stopped since she was arrested for assaulting myself and my dad but she is still very destructive of property and verbally abusive.

My main concern is my 11 year old sister who has had to grow up not really knowing her real mum properly, instead being familiar with this imposter who has taken over her mind and behaviour. It is seriously affecting the emotional and mental wellbeing of the rest of my family especially myself as I seem to be the only one who doesn't want to bury my head in the sand about it.

Although I find if very difficult to speak to my mum about personal issues, and utterly impossible to do it without bursting into tears, I have decided to put everything else aside and sit down to discuss the issue with her. I suppose I am really looking for some support and advice on how to address her so that she doesn't feel threathened and to help combat the stigma around mental health issues. I am sure that she thinks being diagnosed will mean she will be disowned and written off, and I just want her to understand how common and easily treatable these problems can be.

Any advice would be so greatly appreciated.


Posts: 1
Joined: Tue May 13, 2014 2:57 pm

Re: How do you help someone to help themselves?

Postby EMLN » Tue May 13, 2014 3:03 pm

It is difficult to be a family member and/or a carer of a relative with mental illness. It is more difficult especially when they refuse to accept that they have a mental illness and need help. I would suggest that you contact your family GP for help if all of you are registered at the same practice and express your concerns regarding the effect on yourself and your younger sister.

Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 12, 2014 2:20 pm

Re: How do you help someone to help themselves?

Postby Haze9229 » Tue May 13, 2014 4:16 pm

Thank you EMLN for your reply.

I have already spoken to our GP several times and had a note put on my mum's file. In desperation we sought advice from our GP, the police and anyone else we could think of. Unfortunately, as she is an adult and of no physical danger to my younger sister, we have been advised that nothing can be done until she admits her problem and seeks help herself.

This is why I am looking for some advice on how to help her to come to terms with this and agree to seek help. Unfortunately, she blames everyone else so I am looking for techniques that may help her to see that we are not her enemies but here to support her through fighting the real enemy which is her illness.

User avatar
Posts: 1108
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:27 pm

Re: How do you help someone to help themselves?

Postby ooby » Fri May 16, 2014 9:20 pm

An excellent reading resource is “I Am Not Sick. I Don’t Need Help!” by Dr. Xavier Amador. His book gives practical suggestions about how to help someone with mental illness who doesn’t believe they’re sick. Understanding lack of insight (or more accurately: ‘anosognosia’) as a symptom of psychiatric disease and appreciating the process from denial to acceptance and then wellness is essential. ... al-illness

Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:33 am

Re: How do you help someone to help themselves?

Postby shrin » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:47 am

I am in very similar situation as Haze put it and there is no way you can get help from GP. I face this with my wife and i am unable to help her. It is affecting my kids as they really miss true love of mum and this will make their emotional life very poor.

There should be a better way to help these people without them knowing that they are being helped as knowing this fact in any way make them even more paranoid.

Any suggestion where this can be done without them knowing altogether.

In past she had been seen by psycho therapist on GP referral and she was given some anti depression medication which only helped for a while. I feel they key issue is her low esteem but helping it improve doesn't seems practical and require too much dedication and all other family member can’t live normal life.
Pls suggest if there is any way to help her

Posts: 610
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:23 pm

Re: How do you help someone to help themselves?

Postby amaya » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:18 pm

If she has already been referred to the community mental health team once then she needs to go back and maybe you can go with her. Explain what has not worked in the past and why and ask for a properly diagnosis process and find out from them what help is available. Don't get fobbed off with a over simplistic answer.

Return to “Family, Friends and Carers”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests