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OTHER ITA SITES:
Family Mental Illness -- Coping
"The mental illness of a family member is an unexpected event that disrupts the usual sense of continuity an rhythm in the lifecycle with a profound impact on young family members". (Marsh & Dickens, 1997, p.51)
Mental illness disrupts lives in the following ways:
Quite often youth experience Parentification -- that is a role reversal. Often one or more children in the family assume an adult role & take over household responsibilities as well as caretaking of other siblings due to the unavailability of a parent or inability of a parent to perform necessary household and caretaking tasks. Usually the parent and child lack bonding experiences which can result in impaired social experiences.
When a psychotic outbreak, episode or suicide attempt occurs there is an increased reliance and dependence of the ill family member on the rest of the members. Quite often the ill member is in denial of the outbreak and usually experiences confusion, anger and despair. The ill member needs a safe place, food and lots of rest. Meanwhile.....
The rest of the family members are left in a state of shock, crisis and chaos while left to care for the needs of the ill family member. Usually everyone attempts to normalize the experience and to compensate for the disruptive force of the mental illness. The ill member is unaware of the family's unmet needs of the parent's), or children. The spouse is often tending to the ill member, hence children's needs are forgotten.
The social and emotional impact of Mental Illness includes:
©2005 Author: Pauline Fitzgerald, MA, RCC
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