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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Coping with Mental Illness in the Family

The US Surgeon General estimates that in any given year, about 20 percent of the population of the United States including children and adolescents, or almost one in five Americans, suffers from a diagnosable mental illness. Serious conditions—such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder—account for about 6 percent of this total.

Internet Resources

Medline Plus: Mental Disorders
Developed at the National Library of Medicine specifically for health care consumers, this site is excellent for trusted sources of government-sponsored and privately developed health information targeting the lay public.

National Institute of Mental Health
The National Institute of Mental Health is the lead federal agency for research on mental and behavioral disorders. Its mission is to reduce the burden of mental illness and behavioral disorders through research on the mind, brain and behavior.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of people living with serious mental illness and their families. NAMI is a national organization that includes chapters in every state and many local communities across the country.

Mental Health America
Mental Health America (formerly National Mental Health Association) is the oldest nonprofit organization addressing all aspects of mental health and mental illness. With more than 300 affiliates nationwide, MHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans through advocacy, education, research and service.


  • Diagnosing and treating mental illness: a guide for physicians, nurses, patients, and their families. Wylie JV. 2010
  • Mental health information for teens. Bellenir K. 2010
  • When someone you love is bipolar: help and support for you and your partner. Last CG. 2009
  • The Complete Mental Health Directory: A Comprehensive Source Book for Individuals and Professionals. Gottlieb, R. Ed. 2010
  • Handbook of behavioral and cognitive therapies with older adults. Gallagher-Thompson D. 2008
  • Complementary and Alternative Treatments in Mental Health Care. Lake J. & Spiegal D. ed 2008
  • Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Health. Fundukian L. & Wilson J., eds. 2008. Available in print at the Health Learning Center or online at http://www.nmh.org/nm/health+library+virtual+library.


  • “Augmentation strategies for depression. Options include psychotherapy, drugs, and dietary supplements.” Harvard Mental Health Letter. 27(6):1-3. 2010 Dec.
  • “Advice about living with bipolar disorder.” Harvard Mental Health Letter. 27(4):7. 2010 Oct.
  • “Schizophrenia treatment recommendations updated. The new PORT guidelines focus on improving physical as well as mental health.” Harvard Mental Health Letter. 26(12):4-5. 2010 Jun.

Video Recordings

  • Mental Illness in the Family. 26 min.
  • Recovering from Mental Illness. 27 min.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the Health Learning Center at 312.926.5465 or HLC@nmh.org.

Last UpdateApril 5, 2012