Mental Health Recovery: A Family Perspective

'Mental Health Recovery: A Family Perspective' is a free information series for families and carers of people living with a mental health difficulty.

Responding to families' needs

Responding to families' needs

At St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS), we are hosting this 14-part series to address a wide range of questions and concerns that family members, carers and supporters may have in their support roles.

The series has been developed by our Social Work Department, in partnership with our Service User and Supporters Network (SUAN). It recognises that families, carers and supporters play an important part in helping their loved ones through mental health recovery, but also need support and care for themselves. Just as every person’s recovery pathway is unique, every family supporting someone is different. They may need different mental health information or services and practical supports, which depend on their specific circumstances; this series aims to respond to these needs.

The series covers diverse mental health topics from a family or carer perspective, including:

  • Information and advocacy for families
  • Trauma recovery
  • Supporting loved ones living with an eating disorder, addiction, or anxiety
  • Supporting people recovering from psychosis or a personality disorder
  • Adolescent mental health
  • Older adult mental health
  • Supporting young adults in recovery
  • Emotion regulation
  • Family communication and problem-solving
  • Family peer support
  • Medication and mental health recovery
  • Accessing family supports.

Watch the family information series

You can watch recordings from the series here. Recordings will be added shortly after the webinars take place: you can find upcoming webinars further below.

  • Information and Advocacy for Family Recovery

    Elaine Donnelly, Team Social Work Lead in our Social Work Department, explores information and advocacy for families of people going through mental health recovery. Elaine takes us through how involved families should be in a person's recovery, how it's important for families and carers to tend to their own emotions and self-care to be able to best support loved ones, and how involvement benefits not just individual family members, but the family system as a whole.

  • Understanding Trauma from a Family Perspective

    Dr Clodagh Dowling, Director of the Department of Psychology here in SPMHS, explores how to support a family member or loved one working through trauma. Trauma is an extremely stressful event which overwhelms our normal coping mechanisms. When someone experiences trauma, the impact is far and wide: it can be difficult for our families and friends to see our pain or respond to our behaviours. Clodagh shows how it’s important to understand the behaviour and pattern of trauma, but also its function or meaning.

  • Addiction and the Family

    Linda Curran, Social Work Team Leader here in SPMHS, explores the topic of ‘Addiction and the Family’. Addiction impacts not only the person, but the whole family. It has long been recognised that those in recovery benefit greatly from the support of their family and friends. This webinar will help family members recognise the signs of addiction, provide some tips on helpful communication, and outline available supports for family members and carers. Linda looks at what addiction is and some of the common difficulties experienced by family members when supporting someone going through addiction. 

  • An Overview of Eating Distress

    Dr Toni O'Connor and Dr Fionnoula McEnery from our Eating Disorders Programme team, give an overview of eating distress. Support from family members and friends is a key component in recovery from an eating disorder. This webinar aims to help you in that supporting role by providing you with information on eating disorders and insights into how they can impact not only the person experiencing the eating disorder, but also on you in the caring role.

  • Adolescent Mental Health

    Noelle Meehan, Systemic Family Therapist here in SPMHS, explores the topic of ‘Adolescent Mental Health – Supporting Parents to Support their Families’. This webinar aims to help parents in their supporting role as they care for their adolescent, their other children and themselves. Common emotional experiences and issues that may arise in families where an adolescent is experiencing a mental health difficulty are discussed and strategies are identified to help parents respond to their child in helpful ways.

  • Understanding Bipolar Affective Disorder

    Sean Lonergan from our Bipolar Education Programme discusses supporting and promoting the recovery of a loved one living with bipolar affective disorder. Sean explores what is it like to live with bipolar disorder and how can we support those who are diagnosed with it. He explains how friends, family and carers can be a vital part of the three parts of recovery - education, treatment and support - and gives tips on how you can look after yourself in the caregiving role too.

    Read more on supporting someone with bipolar disorder

  • Supporting a Loved One with Anxiety

    Anxiety is our body’s response to a perceived threat. While it is normal to experience anxiety, it can become a problem or be a sign of an anxiety disorder if the anxiety being felt becomes off-balance or if it disrupts the way we want to live our lives, such as living independently, working productively or being social. If our loved ones are going through anxiety, it's important that we understand the challenges they may be facing. Frank Smith, Clinical Nurse Specialist in our Anxiety Disorders Programme, hosts a talk looking at what the anxiety's typical signs and symptoms are, how it can be treated, and how we can be empathatic and support positive change for our loved ones going through it.

    Read an article on supporting someone through anxiety

  • Minding Your Mental Health in the Caring Role

    As a carer, you may feel overwhelmed and needing support yourself sometimes. The video below is about finding ways to look after your own wellbeing as a carer.

    The video is led by Elaine Donnelly and Niamh Fox from the Social Work Department here at SPMHS. As part of their work, they focus on rehabilitation, social care, protecting children and vulnerable adults, income maintenance, accommodation and welfare rights.


  • Understanding Costly Overcontrol

    Overcontrol can be described as too much "self-control". It can be a part of a lot of different mental health difficulties, and many people who experience overcontrol can go through deep feelings of loneliness.

    Rachel Egan and Georgina Heffernan discuss harmful overcontrol, explaining what the signs are and how it can impact on people.

    In the webinar, Rachel and Georgina consider:

    • some of the difficulties linked with overcontrol
    • ways that family members can identify difficulties
    • how families can support loved ones with overcontrol.

  • Navigating the Journey to a Diagnosis of Dementia

    When people complain of having memory problems, often this can be a catch-all term for a range of difficulties. Our ability to think and mental functions fall across six main domains which are linked to different nodes or areas of our brain. When we are investigating memory difficulties, these different domains can be assessed and better understood.

    Dr Sarah O'Dwyer leads a talk which explores these six different domains and the difficulties that we can go through with our memory and ability to think. She discusses what we mean by memory and cognition, or thinking, and how these are affected as we get older. She looks at what kinds of memory difficulties are "normal" or age-related, and what kinds might be of potential concern. She also takes us through the steps involved when investigating memory difficulties, from perhaps first visiting a family doctor or GP through to receiving a diagnosis of cognitive impairment or dementia. Finally, she gives some tips on ways of optimising brain health to reduce the risks of memory difficulties in the future.

  • Supporting Young Adults in Recovery

    A family might feel stress or concern when a family member is receiving mental healthcare, especially for the first time. Elaine Murphy and Laura Pearson, social worker and  family therapist respectively with our Young Adult Service, host a webinar which aims to ease some of these worries and fears for families who have a young adult receiving mental healthcare.

    Elaine and Laura discuss how families, friends and carers can support young adults on the journey of mental health recovery. Their presentation is designed to help families better understand the care their young person receives by simplifying everything from referral, admission, and multidisciplunary care to the key worker role, discharge, aftercare and more. 

    They also explore the family dynamics which can play out when a young person is going through a mental health difficulty, and offer insight and supports around building and maintaining family relationships.

  • Medication in Mental Health Recovery

    If you are experiencing a mental health difficulty, medication may be part of your recovery journey. If you are taking medication, knowing and understanding your medicines is important.

    In this webinar, Ciara Ni Dhubhlaing, Chief Pharmacist here in St Patrick's Mental Health Services, gives an overview of what to expect from commonly-used mental health medications.

    Topics covered in the webinar include:

      • how to make a decision about starting medication
      • how effective different treatments are
      • how long it takes for an effect to be seen
      • common side effects and how to manage them
      • adherence issues
      • planning a change of or safely stopping medications.

In this section

Get more information for families, carers and supporters

Get more information for families, carers and supporters


For general queries, please call us. For more on mental health and our services, see our frequently asked questions (FAQs).

01 249 3200 See our FAQs


Contact Referral and Assessment Service for queries regarding referrals to our services.

01 249 3635 See more from our referrals team