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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago

Coping with Mental Illness in the Family

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that in any given year, about 26 percent of the population of the United States aged 18 and older, or almost one in four Americans, suffers from a diagnosable mental illness. Many more children and adolescents are also afflicted. Serious conditions—such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder—account for about 6 percent of this total.

Internet Resources

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.

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 Mental Health Information Center
The National Mental Health Association (NMHA) was developed for users of mental health services and their families, the general public, policy makers, providers, and the media. With more than 340 affiliates nationwide, NMHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans, especially the 54 million people with mental disorders, through advocacy, education, research and service.


  • Complementary and Alternative Treatments in Mental Health Care. Lake, J. & Spiegal, D. Eds. 2007.
  • The Complete Mental Health Directory: A Comprehensive Source Book for Individuals and Professionals. Mars-Proiette, L. & Gottlieb, R. Eds. 2006.
  • Shunned: Discrimination Against People with Mental Illness. Thornicroft, G. 2006.
  • Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. Thackery E. Ed 2003. Available in print at the Health Learning Center or online here.
  • Family Guide to Emotional Wellness. Fanning P. 2000.
  • Helping Someone with Mental Illness: A Compassionate Guide for Family, Friends, and Caregivers. Carter R. 1998.

Video Recordings

  • Mental Illness in the Family. 26 min.
  • Recovering from Mental Illness. 27 min.
  • When Someone You Love Suffers from Depression. 30 min.
  • Chronic Depression Series: Psychosocial and Family Functioning.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact the Health Learning Center at 312-926-5465 or HLC@nmh.org.

Review Date: 03/09

Last UpdateDecember 2, 2011