There is no doubt that having a strong family relationship can affect mental health. If there is not a positive family relationship, the mental health of a person can be negatively affected.  Conversely a positive or strong family relationship is a good thing.

Strong Family Support – Positive Outcomes

If someone who is suffering from mental health issues has a stable and supportive family, the chances are they will respond in a positive way to therapy. The amount of support that needs to be given depends on the mental health issue. Some people need a lot of support, whilst others may only need to know that there is support within the family home.

Weak Family Support – Negative Outcomes

At the other end of the spectrum, research indicates that a negative family relationship can cause additional stress to all family members, but especially to the person needing support. When there is not a strong foundation of family support, the mental health of the person can deteriorate.  It is a fact that people who suffer from mental health problems tend to rely on their family for support. The recovery time of a person with a strong family foundation can be faster than for a person who has little or no family support.

Stressful Environment within the Family

The family environment plays a major role in the mental health of every person. If there is a stressful relationship within a family, over a period of time this can lead to anxiety and depression. This situation can be alleviated if the family members are willing to communicate with each other; either on their own or with a qualified therapist.

It is not always easy to remain neutral or positive when a family member has a severe mental health issue. Sometimes the family member supporting the person, who is depressed or unwell, may need counselling to help them stay strong.  The dynamics of mental health and family life can be diverse and trying. But in the end, it is best to work towards a solution that serves all members of the family.

Different Situations need Different Solutions

Not every situation that causes family-stress can be sorted out easily or quickly and that is hard for everyone. But a lot of family mental health problems can be avoided or at least alleviated. It is up to the individual family members to choose to take the steps necessary to reduce the stressful situation. All families have periods of tension and in most cases the situation is negated and there are no long-term adverse effects.  However, recognising and acting upon the situation is necessary to stop it building up and causing an explosion. It is the responsibility of all family members to play their part in creating a positive and strong family environment.

This may require a re-educating about mental health or family therapy. Taking a slow and steady approach has a higher chance of success than rushing to find a ‘quick-fix’. Any attempt to stop the situation becoming worse and deteriorating to an unacceptable level will benefit every member of the family.

Toxic vs Caring Family Relationships

Family relationships should not be toxic.  They should be caring and loving. It may not always be the easiest thing to do but for the positive mental health of all family members it is better to try and make an attempt to help a family member who has mental health issues.  And at the same time, you may be helping yourself.

Families do not always need to be perfect, and indeed few families are perfect.  However, in place of ‘perfection’, they can be ‘united’ as one caring unit that looks after each other.

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