Stepping back

The most difficult tasks during this phase are also the most rewarding:

  • know when to step back
  • separate the person from the illness
  • set boundaries

These tasks greatly support your wellbeing as a carer, and support the recovery of the person with the mental illness.

‘Stepping back’ or ‘letting go’ requires a carer to encourage greater responsibility on the part of the person they care for. A hallmark of purposeful coping is knowing when to take control (during an acute episode) and when to give control back.

Separating the person from the illness and setting appropriate boundaries can be challenging. You can know that the person’s mental illness is the cause of the symptoms, but that doesn’t necessarily make their behaviour any easier to deal with.