Get information and advice - Sibling FAQs
As a sibling affected by mental illness in the family, you are likely to to have lots of questions and concerns. Here are some of the common questions from siblings answered.
I've been told my brother has a mental illness.
What does mental illness mean?
My sister used to be really outgoing and good fun but two years ago she had an episode of psychosis and ended up in hospital. Since then she's become really withdrawn.
What can I do to help when my sister is withdrawn?
My sister experiences delusions and although I know they are real to her I find it difficult to explain to our friends and relatives.
How should I react to my sister's delusions and how can I explain them to others?
My brother is acting really strangely - he either sleeps for days or is really hyper and getting really carried away over something.
Why is my brother acting so strangely?
My stepbrother has been told he has bipolar disorder.
What is bipolar disorder?
My sister is recovering from schizophrenia and we're both really keen to help other people - particularly the brothers and sisters whose lives can also be turned upside down even though they aren't the ones who have the illness.
What can we do to help other siblings affected by mental illness?
My brother has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
What are the chances of me developing schizophrenia as well - and what about my children?
I have a diagnosis of a mental illness and I know that I have done some weird things in the past, but now I have good medication and support and am getting my life back together. However, my younger brother (he's 14) gets teased and bullied at school because of me.
What can I do to help my brother deal with bullying?
My half-sister has schizophrenia and is in hospital again - this is the third time this year.
Will she ever get better?
My sister, who has been diagnosed with a severe mental illness, has tried to commit suicide twice and I'm scared she'll succeed one day.
What can I do when my sister is feeling suicidal?
Even though my brother has a diagnosis of schizophrenia and is well known by the local mental health agencies we always struggle to get help when we see a crisis looming up. It often feels like we have to wait until it really goes wrong before anyone responds.
How can we get help in a crisis?
My sister was recently sectioned under the mental health act and was taken into hospital. I don't really understand what this means or what her rights are.
What does 'being sectioned' mean?
If you have an urgent question, want to ask something that is not covered here, or would like more information, you can contact our advice and information service.
If you have other non-urgent questions and would like to ask the advice of other siblings, you could also try posting on the siblings online forum
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays