Supports and Resources for Friends and Family

Practice Self-Care When Caring for Others


The challenges a friend or loved one experiences with mental health or substance use can also affect the circle of individuals around them and their broader community. While the care and encouragement you offer your loved one is critical, it is also important to recognize your need for support as well.

Seeking support for yourself to maintain your own mental wellness may be the most important step you can take to help your friend or family member. Explore resources and community networks that are available to you:

Individual counseling

Meeting with a mental health professional will give you an opportunity to address some of the unique challenges you are facing. A counselor can help you identify healthy coping, manage stress, and support in maintaining your own mental health. Find a counselor using the Office of Behavioral Health’s treatment search website.

Networks and communities

Consider connecting with caregiver or support groups for friends and family of people with mental health or substance use disorders. These groups can help you learn from others who have been or are going through similar experiences, as well as increase the chances that you receive support from a community of understanding individuals. Social support is crucial to your wellbeing and can have positive effects on your mental health – so consider exploring informal support networks, either with in-person support groups or through online networks:

  • Learn about family support groups through the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and search for a group in your area.
  • Search through a full list of support groups based on your needs and those of your loved one.
  • Al-Anon is a support group for family members of an individual with alcohol use issues.
  • Nar-Anon is a 12-step program for families and friends of individuals who have an addiction.
  • Suicide survivor support groups.
  • Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) is a program developed to help family members support and engage with a loved one in treatment. Find out more here.

Judith's story

My son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was five. For the past twenty years I have been his main caregiver. It has been difficult, but I have also learned much on this journey. Here is what I have discovered about self-care:

  • Taking care of yourself is a necessity.
  • There is nothing selfish in making time for you.
  • It is important to do things which you enjoy.
  • It is okay to ask for help.
  • It is most definitely okay to say “no”.
  • It is neither possible nor expected that you do everything.

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