- Families play an important role in the recovery of mental health patients providing daily informal care. Without support from and an alliance with clinical professionals, family members may feel overwhelmed by the challenge of having a relative with a mental disorder.
- The study explores whether the relatives' own feelings of burden, expressed emotion and quality of life can be affected not only by the symptoms of their ill relative but also by how relatives themselves perceive the illness and how psychologically distressed they feel. From a public psychiatric hospital located in Mexico, 65 patients with psychosis were interviewed along with their closest caregiver.
- Feeling psychologically distressed increases relatives' burden, expressed emotion and negatively affects their quality of life. Regardless of the patient's mental health status, perceiving the illness as chronic increases relatives' burden. Moreover, when relatives believe that they, rather than treatment or the patient, control or influence the illness, they feel more burden, and their quality of life is poorer. The quality of life of the relatives is also disrupted by their perception of illness as affecting their own lives as well as patients'.
- Results underscore the relatives' need of support to overcome their own distress and concerns about the illness, for the psychological well-being of both patients and relatives.