Responding to unusual behaviour
If you have a friend or family member with a mental illness, some of their behaviour might worry you. In this section, we suggest some ways to deal with unusual behaviour.
When we say ‘relative’, we mean anyone you know who has a mental illness, even if you are not actually related.
People will have different views about what is ‘unusual behaviour’. In this section, it means any behaviour that you think is caused by your relative’s illness.
- Unusual behaviour in a relative is often one of the hardest aspects 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 be persistent and to try to keep a positive outlook.
- You might find it helpful to keep a record of the approaches you have tried, and whether you thought they were helpful or unhelpful.
- Not all of our suggestions will work for you. You can use our template to record what works and what doesn't work.
- Some carer support groups will discuss these issues. You could try to find out whether there is a group near you.
These pages are created by Rethink Mental Illness' Advice Service in accordance with the Information Standard. Last reviewed in November 2014. Next review November 2016.
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