Psychiatrists have long recognized the importance of family involvement in mental health care. Studies show that patients with psychiatric disorders have better outcomes when their families are involved in their treatment. Many facilities have family days or less formal visiting times to allow families to spend quality time with their loved ones in treatment. The benefits of this include:

Better Relationships

Psychiatric illnesses can have devastating impacts on family members. These issues can lead to strained relationships, which can contribute to poor coping and recovery. Family psychiatric services can help families learn to communicate better, resolve conflict, and develop healthy coping strategies. Ask potential family counselors or psychiatrists about their approach and counseling style during the meet-and-greet session. Also, inquire about their qualifications and education to ensure they are qualified mental health professionals.

Better Communication

Working with families to educate them about psychiatric illnesses and their treatments, family psychiatrists can improve communication between all members of the household. These sessions are often referred to as psychoeducation and can last anywhere from two to six sessions. These sessions may include a basic overview of the disorder, its causes, symptoms, and treatment options. Additional sessions can offer more specific information, such as medication management, coping strategies, and marital or pregnancy issues (in females).

Better Health

Involvement with family psychiatric services can improve communication and relationships, teach families new coping skills, and ultimately lead to healthier lives. This type of treatment is typically used within child and adolescent psychiatry but is also useful in general practice for adult conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

While working with family may be outside the scope of most psychiatrists’ training, all healthcare providers need to have basic family intervention skill sets. They need to be able to identify and assess family factors, recognize problems related to family systems issues, and determine when a referral for family therapy is necessary for successful treatment. This may include evidence-based interventions such as family psychoeducation and support or parenting management training.

Better Self-Esteem

The family’s involvement in psychiatric treatment can help build a child or adult’s self-esteem. They may learn how to communicate better, channel negative thoughts through healthy activities, and other skills to address issues impacting mental health.

When looking for a telehealth provider to treat your family, it’s important to find one that offers psychiatry services and therapy. The best psychiatry service providers have experienced psychiatrists on their team and are in-network with many insurance companies.

Better Mental Health

While it may seem counterintuitive, when family members are engaged in psychiatric treatment for their loved ones, they experience better mental health themselves. This results from several factors, including improved communication and support networks. Ultimately, it helps dispel stigma and provides an opportunity to learn more about mental illness, which can foster a sense of hope and resiliency.

While involving families in the care of adults with psychiatric disorders is less common, it should be a part of treatment programs when appropriate. This includes obtaining a family history, gathering collateral information, observing family dynamics, recommending family psychoeducation, or engaging in family therapy when indicated. Family involvement has been shown to optimize treatment and reduce relapse and rehospitalization rates. The same applies to family involvement in outpatient services.

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