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Including family in mental health care

Last Modified: 8/16/2019

This post was written by Glenis Sundberg, LMFT, licensed clinical therapist, Parkview Behavioral Health.

Mental illness does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, geography, income, social status, race/ethnicity, religion/spirituality, sexual orientation, background or cultural identity. Today, mental illness is on the rise, particularly anxiety disorder and depression. As we explore core causes and remedies for these conditions, it’s important to consider all of the methods that could help the patient through the treatment process. 

A study by researchers from NYU Langone Health, published earlier this year in the journal Psychiatric Services, found that more Americans than ever before are suffering from Serious Psychological Distress (SPD). The researchers analyzed a federal health information database and concluded that 3.4% of the United States population, more than 8.3 million adults, suffer from SPD.


Some of the factors contributing to the rise of SPD include:

  • Reduced face-to-face interactions and social support
  • Increased performance pressures (education, career, financial, etc.)
  • Increased parental pressures
  • An increase in divisive news
  • Social media pressure
A family model

In combination with other methods of treatment, a family based model for treating mental illness looks at the family as a unit and focuses on positive interdependence and supportive relationships. This approach builds on family strengths, resilience and helping the individual experiencing the mental health issue, build on their capabilities.

The family based model enables providers to:

  • Consider the environment, and family cultural and social systems within each individual’s life (e.g. housing, finances, employment, relationships, religious beliefs, etc.).
  • Understand the risk to health and well-being that occurs across generations and manage these risks to reduce their impact.
  • Help parents understand their child’s mental health issues, their treatment plan and the potential impact of mental health issues on their parenting, their parent-child relationship and the child.

The benefits of this method can be many, for both the patient and others in the household who could be impacted by the condition.


You can learn more about the symptoms of depression and anxiety on our website, and learn additional strategies for coping. If you practice these strategies daily to manage anxiety and find they’re not working as well as you hoped, it might be time to seek professional help. Call the Parkview Behavioral Health HelpLine at (260) 373-7500 or (800) 284-8439, anytime 24 hours a day. Our dedicated assessment specialists are available to guide you to the appropriate level of care – or resources – for your situation.


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