Responding to unusual behaviour

If you have a friend or family member with a mental illness, some of their behaviour might worry you. Unusual behaviour in a relative is often the hardest part of mental illness for people to understand, accept and cope with. This page suggests some ways to deal with unusual behaviour.

Overview

  • Unusual behaviour in a relative is often the hardest part of mental illness for people to understand, accept and cope with.
  • There are lots of reasons why people do things. Not everything your relative does is because of their illness.
  • All situations and relationships are different. What works for you might not work for someone else.
  • You may have to change your approach when your relative’s moods change.
  • It can take time for things to change. It can help to keep trying and to be positive.
  • You might find it helpful to keep a record of the things you have tried, and whether you thought they were helpful or unhelpful.
  • Not all of our suggestions will work for you. At the end of this factsheet there is a template diary you can use to make your own guide.
  • Some carer support groups talk about unusual behaviour and may offer suggestions or emotional support. You could try to find a group near you or start your own.

 

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