Mental Disorders: What Families and Friends Can Do to Help

These fact sheets, produced by Here to Help, are available in multiple languages. They provide tips for supporting a friend or family member with a mental disorder.

Here to Help is a project of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information, a group of seven leading provincial mental health and addictions non-profit agencies.

How You Can Help: A Toolkit for Families 

Summary versions of this tool are currently available in the following languages:

Caregiver Mobilization Toolkit

The Toolkit is intended to support caregivers and organizations in order to help them understand and implement the recommendations outlined in the National Guidelines for a Comprehensive Service System to Support Family Caregivers of Adults with Mental Health Problems and Illnesses released in June 2013 by the MHCC.

“The Guidelines provide an evidence-informed, comprehensive approach to better meeting the needs of family caregivers,“ said Ed Mantler, MHCC Vice President of Programs and Priorities, “the mobilization toolkit is for those who want to put the Guidelines into practice.”

“The Toolkit offers practical guidance to anyone interested in translating the Guidelines into concrete help for families,” said Ella Amir, Executive Director of AMI-Québec who added, “it is the best step to ensure that the Guidelines are not remembered as an impressive academic document but rather as a tool that changed the lives of caregivers across the country.” A grassroots organization, AMI-Québec is committed to helping families manage the effects of mental illness through support, education, guidance and advocacy. By promoting understanding, the organization aims to dispel the stigma still surrounding mental illness, thereby helping to create communities that offer new hope for meaningful lives.

Quick Facts:

  • The term family Caregiver refers to all those in the circle of care, including family members and other significant people who provide unpaid support to an individual living with a mental health problem or illness.
  • Approximately 560,000 Canadians provide care to a person living with a mental health problem or illness.
  • Caregivers experience more health and mental health problems compared to the general population, as well as an increased financial burden.
  • Note specific guidelines on culture and ethnicity as contextual issues to consider in planning services.

Additional information on the Caregiver Guidelines and Mobilization Toolkit may be found online at

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