The family can play a positive role in developing and maintaining a person’s mental health. Given that one in four people experience a mental health challenge, and most families contain more than four people, all families should understand the process by which mental illnesses develop, and what they can do to help at each stage.
Our Framework for Family Support illustrates this in relation to some eating disorders, but the underlying principles apply to a wide range of mental health issues.
The best-selling book Life Hurts: a doctor’s personal journey through anorexia is written by Dr Elizabeth McNaught (Lizzie).
Lizzie was diagnosed with anorexia at the age of 14, leading to an admission to a general hospital, many months in an inpatient unit and years in community care. She is now a hospital doctor and the medical director of Family Mental Wealth (follow her at Twitter.com/DrEMcNaught).
In The Lancet (June 2018), Professor Janet Treasure of King’s College Eating Disorders Research Group emphasised ‘the importance of providing families, particularly fathers, with the information and skills needed to support recovery’. We are delighted to be working with Janet’s team and others as we develop resources to help families, particularly fathers, in this role. See this BBC interview with Dr Elizabeth McNaught and her father Nick Pollard (co-founders of Family Mental Wealth).