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Why should I keep in touch with my relative who has serious mental illness?

For many reasons a number of people with serious mental illness (SMI) leave the family home to live in their own apartment or a group home, or other residence. They have few friends frequently, so that opportunities to talk and share experiences are limited. A study by the national mental illness charity in Australia, SANE, discovered that many people with SMI hadn't touched another person in a whole six-month period.

Though you may not live with your relative you should keep in touch with them regularly, if possible call them on the telephone, drop in to talk to them and leave a greeting/post card if they are out. In general, make them feel needed and wanted. Other family members can be encouraged to do their part; siblings and cousins can plan to meet the person for tea or go on some other pleasant activity (other than going to the doctor).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.