For Caregivers

"Ordinary People doing Extraordinary things"

Who are we...
(friends, family, spouses and workers) of people living with mental illness play a vital role in the mental health system, yet their needs are often underestimated or overlooked entirely.Taking care of a relative who has a serious mental illness can place considerable strain, not only on the primary caregiver, but also on the friends and other members of the family.

Caregiving Bill of Rights by Jo Horne
As Caregiver I have the Right…

  1. To take care of myself and seek opportunities for respite. This is not an act of selfishness. It will give me the capability of taking better care of my relative.
  2. To seek help from others even though my relative may object. I recognize the limits of my own endurance and strength.
  3. To maintain facets of my own life that do not include the person I care for; just as I would if he or she were healthy.
  4. To get angry, depressed and express other difficult feelings occasionally.
  5. To reject any attempt by my relative either conscious or unconscious, to manipulate me through guilt, anger, or depression.
  6. To receive consideration, affection, forgiveness and acceptance for what I do for my loved one, for as long as I offer these qualities in return.
  7. To take pride in what I am accomplishing and to applaud the courage it has sometimes taken to meet the needs of my relative.
  8. To protect my individuality and my right to make a life for myself that will sustain me in the time when my relative no longer needs my full-time help.
  9. To expect and demand that as new strides are made in finding resources to aid mentally ill persons, that they become available in our community.