Caring for someone with a mental illness


Back-to-Directory A health article about mental illness carers from Mental Health Problemsdealing with Health Problems & nutritional Self Care Strategies

For the person experiencing it, being diagnosed with a mental illness is a frightening and confusing period. It can also be a difficult period for that person’s family, relatives and friends.

A Carer is someone who helps his/her relative/friend with a mental illness on their journey to recovery.

This information sheet aims to outline some of the issues affecting a carer, and discusses how they can better help their loved one. It also gives suggestions on where to go for further help and assistance.


Learning how mental illness is affecting their relative, and understanding what they are going through, is perhaps one of the most important aspects of a carer’s role.

Very often, the behaviour of someone with a mental illness is misunderstood. One such misconception is that ‘ people with a mental illness are lazy and weak, and if they tried hard enough they could ‘snap’ out of it’.

Fear about the onset of the next episode, confusion about the illogical, at times irrational nature of their inner world may be some of the feelings experienced by someone with a mental illness.

They may also experience anger and bitterness due to the manner in which the mental illness is affecting every aspect of their life.

They may be hypersensitive to criticism and feel as if others, including their carer and mental health professional, do not understand them or what they are going through.

They may feel rejection from friends and relatives and consequently isolate themselves. They may experience an overwhelming sense of despair, loss of interest, lack of energy or motivation.

Angry outbursts may be demonstrated by somebody with a mental illness. This can be due to delusions or hallucinations, inner frustration and conflict, or an inability to manage anger.

It is important for the carer to understand that they can seek assistance in terms of respite or other residential care.

You may also like to advise your relative’s case manager or doctor of the difficulties you are experiencing.


Realistic expectations – It is normal to feel the loss of what your loved one was able to do before the onset of mental illness. He or she may also be experiencing similar feelings of loss and sadness.

Many carers envisage that ‘recovery’ for their relative is being able to function as they were before the onset of the illness. This can be true for some, however, for others having this attitude or expectation may mean that they fail to see the small signs of progress that their relative is making.

Such an expectation may carry over to the person with the mental illness who may also feel that they are not progressing. Expectations of employment, or schooling may simply be inappropriate at certain periods, while a possibility at other times. Some realistic signs of progress could simply be when your relative starts eating with the family, or having daily showers.

Positive outlook – One of the most important ways a carer can help is by instilling hope of a more positive future for their loved one. Often the person experiencing the mental illness may not be able to foresee ‘better days’.

Helping them have a more positive outlook in life can also show him/her your support and may further assist those who feel that they are ‘burdening’ the family as a result of mental illness.

Communication – Conversation and communication can at times become challenging when carers feel that their relative is not ‘hearing’ what they have said.

At times this could be because s/he is preoccupied with other thoughts or because the relationship between the carer and relative has deteriorated to the extent where communication has become difficult. Some hints for improved communication are:

• Face the other person and maintain eye contact
• Present one thought at a time.
• Don’t rush. Speak in a calm manner.
• Listen to the other person’s thoughts and feelings
• Acknowledge the other person’s feelings
• Repeat in different words to convey your meaning
• Time out – if you are not able to get your message across to your care recipient at one time, come back to the issue when both you and him/her are more receptive and patient. Don’t go on arguing, no matter how logical you feel your argument is.

Problem solving – it is often tempting to make decisions for your care recipient rather than to encourage them to come to a decision for themselves. Encouraging them to use problem-solving techniques will help empower them and give them some sense of control over their life. Eg Relative:“ I am not sure whether to attend the support group today”.

Instead of saying, Its good for you, you should go”, you could say “What did you think of the session last time?” ... and / or “How did you feel after the last meeting”.

In this example, helping your loved one see the benefit of attending a support group is better achieved by them thinking through it themselves rather than you ‘telling’ them.

Learn to reduce stress – Encourage your relative to practice stress reduction strategies. Excessive stress may make someone with a mental illness more vulnerable to relapse.

Good stress reduction strategies may even help reduce some symptoms of mental illness eg. anxiety, depression, lack of motivation etc.

Some simple ways to reduce stress are:

• Walking
• Relaxation, meditation
• Adequate rest, sleep
• Talking with a friend
• Listening to music

Be empathic and sensitive - A person who is experiencing an acute episode of a mental illness may feel very unwell, just as we do when we are experiencing an episode of physical illness.

Avoid making comparisons to friends, colleagues’ and relatives’ success at work, school or relationships. Such comparisons may belittle your care recipient, where s/he may feel far behind others in terms of success, achievements etc.

Also remember that those who haven’t experienced a mental illness cannot fully understand what it is like for those that have.

Encourage compliance in taking medication – There could be times when your care relative refuses to take medication. This may be due to the side effects they are experiencing or because they feel that the medication is not positively benefiting them.

Simply saying to them to take their medication because “its good for you”, often will not convince him/her. In fact they may feel that you do not understand their feelings. Keep in mind that he or she has reasons they believe why they should stop taking their medication.

Some things you can do to encourage compliance with medication are:

• When your relative is looking and feeling better, suggest that the medication may have played a role in them feeling better.

• If he/she is refusing to take their medication because of side effects, ask them to write down all the things they are experiencing and encourage them to make an appointment with their doctor to discuss the side effects. Also encourage them to ask the doctor what sort of things will help alleviate the side effects.

• If your relative feels that the medication is not helping him/her, then encourage them to ask their doctor how long it takes before the medication takes effect. Also bring up the issue of regular intake of medication. Help him/her understand that regular intake of medication is important, as it is for any other medical condition eg. Uncle Fred taking daily medication for diabetes.

• Bring up the topic of medication when your relative is more receptive, and more open to discussion – even the time of the day may make a difference eg. Some people with a mental illness may be more anxious or experience more symptoms at night, so daytime may be a better option for discussing medication.

(If your relative suggests that they do not need to take medication because there is ‘nothing wrong with them’, discuss this with his/her doctor, and options such as community treatment orders and community counselling orders).

Learn: A more informed carer is better resourced to help their loved one.
• Find out information about the particular mental illness your relative is experiencing; about treatment options and the types of services available in your area.
• Carer workshops may be offered in your area health service. Such workshops may assist you understand the issues involved in caring for someone with a mental illness.
• Attend support groups and meet other people in similar circumstances to you, find out what helps them cope and care better


Caring for someone with a mental illness can affect the dynamics of a family. Often, the caring role drains the majority of the caregiver’s time, energy and patience.

Grief may be involved, as in the loss of the loved one’s former personality, achievements and contributions; as well as the loss in family lifestyle. This grief can lead to unconscious hostility and anger.

Other family members may also start contributing towards caring, and neglect their own needs:

Children – Children often do not fully comprehend what their relative is undergoing. They can often gauge the stress that the family is experiencing, but not actually ask what the matter is. They may withdraw, or pretend that the change in family dynamics does not exist.

Alternatively, they may start contributing greatly towards the household. They may show signs of ‘growing up too quickly’. Other children may demonstrate anger and irritability, and choose to spend more time away from the home and the family.

Relationships – Personal relationships of wife/husband/partner are also greatly affected by mental illness. This is especially true if the carer’s partner is the person with the mental illness. The needs of the relationship change. The carer may also experience loneliness in terms of the lack of attention from his/her spouse and the dramatic increase in responsibilities.

Caring for a child with mental health problems can also create friction in the carer’s relationship with his/her partner. There are issues of lack of attention to the needs of the partner. At times there can be issues of blame between partners in terms of responsibility for their child’s mental illness.

Attending to the needs of other family members:

• Allocate time that you will spend with another family member and seek assistance or respite, if needed, to attend to your relative with mental illness.
• Organise family outings where everyone can participate eg picnics, bushwalking, family cricket matches.
• Encourage family members to see other positive qualities in your relative, not just his/her mental illness.
• If children are involved, pay attention to whether they are keeping in touch with their friends and continue to do things that other kids their age are doing eg. Bike riding, going to movies etc.
• In your personal relationship as a wife/husband/partner, try to do some of the enjoyable things that you had done before your caring role began e.g. going out to dinner, going for walks with your partner.


Most carers, once they adopt their caring role, fail to address their own needs. This may be by giving up paid work, stopping socialising with friends, neglecting their own health, and even simple things like not allowing themselves time to read a book or go for a walk.

Carers sometimes persist with their caring role to the point of exhaustion, frustration and breakdown. Sometimes, they unconsciously start doing too much for their relative, to the point where he/she fails to take on board their own responsibilities.

Along with the caring role, often there are issues of guilt and blame. Sometimes carers feel directly responsible for their loved one’s mental illness and ill health, or they feel that their relative is suffering because of shortcomings in their caring. They may think that taking ‘more’ or ‘better’ care of their loved one will help them recover from their mental illness.

As can be imagined, some carers take on a huge responsibility. This often leads to their own mental and physical ill health. Neglecting one’s own needs and health can lead to a tired, exhausted, frustrated and emotionally drained carer.

Being in such a position can adversely affect the decision making process of a carer and, in turn, their caring capacity. It may even adversely affect the relationship between the carer and their relative.

A carer who cares for him/herself is able to better care for their loved one.

How to care for you
• Devote at least 15 minutes a day to yourself, and do what you enjoy doing eg. going for walks, talking to friend, reading a book, sitting down with a cup of tea, watching your favourite TV show etc.
• Plan for longer breaks. Use respite services if available
• Attend support groups for carers/relatives
• Avoid extra pressures or unnecessary tasks – some tasks can be done at another time
• Try to get out of the house at least once a day.
• Eat regular healthy meals.
• Exercise regularly.


Caring for someone with a mental illness is a new experience for most people. Often it is a role they never expected or imagined they would need to take. It is often an area that is new to them, and they are unsure of the types of things they need to know and the types of questions they need to be asking.

Mental Health Professional Team – The Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Case-manager or GP can provide information to you in terms of what your relative is experiencing. Sometimes because of confidentiality, mental health professionals will not be able to discuss some of the issues affecting your relative. However, you can still let him/her know of your concerns.

In your capacity as a carer, you may have information and insight that could assist the health professional better care for your relative.

Some useful questions to ask mental health professionals:

• What are the side effects of the medication?
• What other treatment options are available?
• How do I find out more about my care recipients mental illness?
• What do I do if there is a crisis?
• Are there support groups that will help my relative, or help me?
• What can I do if my relative refuses to take medication?
• Is there any place that can help my relative with accommodation?
• Is there anything or any place that can assist with the social needs of my relative?
• Is my relative able to work at the moment? If so, who can help him/her look for a job?
• What are the rights of my relative when s/he is in hospital?
• What are my rights as a carer?

Relative – In your role as a carer, it is often easy to forget to simply ask the person you are caring for if they are happy with the assistance you and others are providing. It is easy to start ‘telling’ the person what they ‘should’ be doing.

This approach or attitude may negatively affect your relationship. To prevent this just ask for their opinion. It is often a good idea to bring up some of the following issues when the person is well and willing to talk.

• Are you happy with the mental health worker? Would you like a second opinion?
• Would you like to speak with someone else, if it is difficult for you to discuss things with me?
• When you are experiencing psychosis (or going through a difficult time), what can I do to help? .... or what do I say that will help?.....what are the things that I should not say?
• How else can I help you?


• Remove any immediate danger eg. sharp objects and ensure that your relative is in a safe environment.
• If the person is a danger to him/herself or to someone else, contact the nearest Mental Health Crisis Team.
• If there is no immediate danger, but you are concerned for the person, speak to their case manager. The case manager can assist you if you feel your relative is in need of more specialised hospital care, a second opinion, or a change in medication or doctor.
• If your relative is expressing to you ideas of paranoia, hallucinations or hearing voices, it is better not to flatly deny it, or enter into arguments about it. Such ideas or feelings are very real to the person experiencing them. You can communicate to them that you understand their viewpoint but that it differs from yours. eg “ You may believe that Fred next door is spying on you, but I believe that he is an avid gardener who enjoys spending time in the garden.”
• A delusion is not amenable to reason, so it needs no discussion.


People with a mental illness sometimes think and talk about suicide. Such thoughts are not uncommon for someone experiencing an acute episode of a mental illness. It does not necessarily mean that they will harm themselves. However it is important that your relative discusses his/her thoughts with their doctor as soon as possible.

Suicide threats, especially when someone has a plan of how they will carry it out, require urgent attention. Your relative may experience hallucinatory voices that suggest suicide. Take ALL suicide threats seriously.

You may also like to attend suicide prevention workshops and suicide awareness presentations to learn how to identify risk factors associated with suicide and learn the necessary actions that need to be taken.

If there is a crisis:
 Call your local mental health crisis team (always keep the phone number at a convenient location and find out if it is a 24 - hour service).
 If your relative is willing, you can take him/her to the Emergency Department at the nearest hospital.
You can also call ‘000’ and request help from the emergency services.

You may also like to inform the health professional treating your relative or friend. They have a duty of care to provide advice and support.


• Mental Health Information Service 02 9816 5688 or toll free 1800 674 200 (Outside Sydney metro) - Telephone information and referral service.
• Association for Relatives and Friends of the Mentally Ill (ARAFMI): 24hr phone service and support groups for families and relatives of the mentally ill.
• (02) 9805 1883/ 1800 655 198- 24 hours
• Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW: (02) 9879 2600 - for information/support/referral
• Sane Australia: 1800 688 382 - for information/referral
• Carers NSW: 1800 242 636 - Respite, support.
• LifeForce – Suicide Prevention Program 02 9874 2111 - Workshops on suicide risk assessment.

When your parent has a mental illness

In Australia it is estimated that there are 27,000 children affected by having a parent who has a mental illness. (Cowling, McGorry & Hay, Medical Journal of Australia, 163(7), 1995:119-120)

If your parent has a mental illness
Growing up in any family can be challenging at times, but there are often special problems and challenges for families in which one or both parents have a mental illness.

What are the challenges?
You may have had to take over many of the adult responsibilities associated with parenting and managing a household. Such things might include taking care of younger brothers and sisters, grocery shopping or paying bills.

You may not always be able to receive the care and support from your parent that you need or would like. There are likely to be disruptions to the family when your parent becomes ill and needs to stay in hospital.

If you do not understand your parent’s illness, and even if you do, you may feel guilty that somehow through your behaviour or the things you say, you are the reason they become ill.

If your parent has a mental illness you may be vulnerable to stigma, rejection and a lack of understanding from people at your school and in the community. Other people’s shortcomings such as prejudice and fear can make you feel like isolating and withdrawing from those around you.

When a parent has a mental illness, seeking and holding down a job can be difficult. A recent survey showed that 92.06% of mentally ill parents surveyed in the South West (of Sydney) were unemployed. Being unable to get work can push the family income below the poverty line. This puts even more stress on everyone.

What might your needs be?
You may need to have someone care for you or help you look after your brothers and sisters when your parent goes into hospital to ensure the least disruption to home and school.

You may not understand what is happening at the times when your parent is ill. Finding out about your parent’s illness can help you make sense of what’s going on.

It is okay and important for you to talk to someone, other than to your parent about your fears, guilt and confusion.

You may need to meet and talk with other young people who also have parents who have a mental illness.

How you can help yourself
Acknowledge that you have a parent with a mental illness and acknowledge the effects this has had on you.
- Remember that you are not responsible for causing your parent’s problems.
- Acknowledge your feelings of shame, guilt and anger.
- Remember you are not responsible for other people’s prejudices.
Develop new ways of taking care of yourself.
- Recognise your own needs and take care of them.
- Develop strategies for coping and reducing the stress in your life.
- Have interests outside of the family.
Develop new ways of relating to others.
- Recognise that relationships don’t have to be defined by crisis or dependency.
Educate yourself about your parent’s illness.
- This will help you to understand what has caused the problems for your parent and family.
Consider seeing your own support person (i.e. counsellor).
- It may be good to seek help from outside the family. Counselling may aid you with an understanding of how your parent’s illness impacts on your life and how you can deal with that.
Join a support group or peer support program
- A support group may enable you to reduce your feeling of isolation.
- Peer support will provide you with a support network of young people in similar circumstances. Through peer support you can also learn strategies for dealing with confusing and difficult living environments.


• Youth Health Centres (see ‘Community Help’ in white pages)
• ARAFMI …………………………………………………………...(02) 9805 1883
• (Association for Relatives and Friends of the Mentally Ill)
• Young ARAFMI …………………………………………………...(02) 9427 5946
• Family Crisis Service …………………………………………….(02) 9622 0522
• Kids Help Line (5-18 years) …………………………………….1800 551 800
• NSW Mental Health Information and Referral Service………(02) 9816 5688
Or.……. 1800 674 200

Diet change strategies:

When You Crave A Good Feeling

Some moods trigger food cravings -- and vice versa. The challenge is to keep both in check.

Think of your body as an insanely complex, gooey car. Put in gas and oil (a balanced diet), and you're good to go. Put in nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, weird, manufactured fats, gummy, washed-out flour, and sugar, and it's like pouring sugar into the gas tank. You'll sputter, run on, stop and start, or stall.

Put Food In, See a Difference

Senior New York University clinical nutritionist Samantha Heller, MS, RD, would probably prefer an analogy to a chemistry set. "If you are chemically balanced," Heller contends, "your moods will be balanced."

A lot of factors can throw the body out of balance. "A lot of women are anemic," she says. "This leads to depression and fatigue. Older people are often deficient in the B vitamins. People who don't eat regularly often have big shifts in blood sugar." People also have chemical sensitivities to certain foods that can govern mood.

In a study of 200 people done in England for the mental health group known as Mind, subjects were told to cut down on mood "stressors" they consumed, while increasing the amount of mood "supporters." Stressors included sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and chocolate (more of that coming up). Supporters were water, vegetables, fruit, and oil-rich fish.

Eighty-eight percent of the people who tried this reported improved mental health. Specifically, 26% said they had fewer mood swings, 26% had fewer panic attacks and anxiety, and 24% said they experienced less depression.

How Moods Are Fed or Starved

One big set of chemicals that control mood are the neurotransmitters in the brain led by the pleasure "drug" serotonin. These substances determine whether you feel good and energetic or tired, irritable, and spacey. They run on sugar, preferably the form that comes from low glycemic carbohydrates (not doughnut sprinkles), according to Molly Kimball, RD, sports and lifestyle nutritionist at the Ochsner Clinic Foundation and Hospital in New Orleans.

The idea, she says, is to maintain a stable blood sugar level through the day, slowly feeding these substances into the brain. Low glycemic carbs include whole grain bread, beans, whole grain crackers, soy, apples, pears, peaches, and other fruits.

What Kimball calls "crappy carbs" -- commercial granola bars, animal crackers, graham crackers, potato chips, and of course, cakes and pies -- flood into the system too fast and cause your body to order up a big shot of insulin, which then tips the balance you've tried to maintain. "You can see it when you've had a white flour pancake and syrup for breakfast," Kimball says. "By mid-afternoon, you're ready for a nap." This sugar alert/insulin cycle can gradually become less efficient and lead to diabetes and other problems.

Comfort Foods Really Work

If you have let your neurotransmitters get off balance or if external forces have conspired to put you in a bad mood, don't fret, it happens. That's when your body will start to think "comfort food."

According to Joy Short, MS, RD, assistant professor and head of undergraduate nutrition and dietetics at St. Louis University, you should fulfill that craving -- but in moderation. "You might take time to think, 'Am I really hungry or just feel like eating because I am stressed,'" she says.

However, if you can't think of a healthier response, eat your comfort item and enjoy it! If you must eat a deep-fried Twinkie, eat one and lighten up on (but don't skip) the rest of the meals in the day, she says.

You could make comfort foods more nutritional, she says. Interestingly, both men and women choose ice cream as their preferred comfort food, but coming in second is chocolate for women and pizza for men. "If you want a cookie, make it oatmeal raisin or vanilla wafers. Buy low-fat ice cream. Make your hot chocolate with skim milk. And forget the chips, in favor of popcorn or pretzels," Short says. Or after Domino's arrives, throw some artichoke pieces, anchovies, or frozen veggies on top and heat.

What about that universal comfort food, chocolate? Much has been written about chocolate's rich complement of mood-altering chemicals, some of which trip the serotonin receptors and cause a "falling in love" feeling, according to millions of chocoholics.

Chocolate is also supposedly loaded with antioxidants that keep the brain and other organs from being bashed by rogue cells called free radicals. Kimball says chocolate can act almost as a cannabinoid -- the mood-altering chemical found in marijuana. But Heller and Short say the touchy-feely chemicals are not in sufficient strength to make a difference in the body.

Recommendations for Managing Moods

• Maintain a stable blood sugar, no big swings. This means frequent small meals and snacks, every four hours or so.
• Be sure to drink a lot of water and juice.
• Exercise 20 minutes a day for mood -- and an hour for fat-burning.
• Do not follow an extremely low-fat diet (quick weight loss is also bad for mood, Heller says). Fat is needed for anti-depression. Stick with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and fatty fish or flaxseeds, which are full of healthy omega-3 fats.
• Take in tryptophan, an amino acid that makes blood sugar accessible to the neurotransmitters. This means milk or turkey. Eat a carb alongside your tryptophan source for better absorption.
• Have breakfast.
• Spend time in the produce department when you shop (try to eat a lot of bright colors, which means fruits and veggies).
• Pass on food items that come wrapped in crackly cellophane.
• Limit coffee (even nutritionist Kimball drinks some).
• Don't eliminate any one food group, such as carbs.


Herbs and related supplements are one natural treatment alternative for mental health disorder patients. Some patients prefer to use natural treatment choices as stand alone treatment, whereas others use them in combination with medication and psychotherapy. Work with your health care practitioner to find out what is best for you.

The best place to get quality supplements is from a natural healthcare provider. There are dozens of supplements marketed on supermarket shelves today, but many of these do not receive standardization. It is important if you decide to use supplements that you get the best quality supplement possible.

Here is a listing of a few supplements that healthcare providers have used for many years to treat symptoms of bipolar and related disorders. Most herbs come from plants and can help relax or provide support with sleep disorders and depression in patients.

Black Cohosh – This may affect one’s hormones, which may be one cause for symptoms of some mental health disorders.

Damiana – Often used to help lessen depression, but may cause mania in people with bipolar disorder.

Ginseng – May help provide more energy to people who feel fatigue during depressive states.

Gotu Kola – May help address symptoms of anxiety.

St. John’s Wort – One of the most popular of herbal supplements supported with scientific research that may help lessen mild depression. Again, one should use with caution and can interact with other medications including antidepressants.

Vitamin & Nutrient Associations

If you suffer from mental health disorders, it is important you eat well to nourish your body. Deficiencies of vitamins and minerals can contribute to your symptoms. Deficiencies of vitamins and minerals in anyone can contribute to symptoms including anxiety, depression and poor health.

A good quality multivitamin is a good start, especially if you do not have a history of eating well. Even if you do eat well, not all people absorb the vitamins and nutrients from their foods completely, so a multivitamin may help correct any shortages.

Many therapists recommend patients with bipolar disorder take extra B vitamins because these vitamins may affect our moods. A deficiency in vitamin B of any type may result in symptoms of depression or anxiety.

B vitamins are also often recommended to people to help lessen fatigue. For most, B vitamins help energize the body. There are many forms of B vitamins, so your best bet is a complex tablet containing all the B vitamins. For your information, here is a breakdown of the B vitamins by category.

• B-1 – Also known as “Thiamin.” This may impact anxiety, irritability and improve blood circulation in the brain and body.

• B-6 – Also known as “Pyridoxine.” This B vitamin may help reduce irritability. Doctors sometimes recommend it to patients with premenstrual irritability and agitation. You can take too much however, so be sure you consult with your doctor.

• B-12 – This vitamin helps convert what you eat into fuel for your body. It is most helpful for reducing drowsiness.

• Folic Acid – Important for preserving the body’s systems and biochemical balance. Careful however, as this supplement may interact with some of the more commonly prescribed mood stabilizers including Depakene.

Other vitamins that may prove helpful may include vitamin E, which may combat the risk of seizures often associated with the use of traditional medication therapies.

Here are some other supplements and nutrients that may prove useful for combating the symptoms of mental health disorders.

SAMe (pronounced Sammy) – This supplement may affect levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, but carries with it a risk of mania.

Tyrosine – Often used in combination with B vitamins, this amino acid is a precursor to dopamine and norepinephrine, important neurotransmitters in the body. What this means is your body needs tyrosine to make norepinephrine and dopamine.

GABA – May help relieve some symptoms including anxiety, insomnia, racing thoughts and tension in patients with bipolar or related disorders.

Essential Fatty Acids – Essential fatty acids are important for our entire body to work properly. They nourish the brain and may help reduce symptoms of depression. You can get essential fatty acids by eating more fatty fishes and flax seed or by taking a supplement. Some healthcare providers recommend as much as 5,000 I.U. or more for patients with severe depression. Be sure you check in with your doctor. Most over-the-counter supplements contain only 1,000 I.U. per serving.

Lecithin – This substance may help stabilize mood swings. If you plan to use this supplement, you should do so while working with a natural health care provider.

Calcium – Calcium is a mineral our bodies need for proper neurotransmitter production. Look for a supplement with calcium and magnesium to heighten the effects. A lack in magnesium can often lead to insomnia and anxiety.

Zinc – This important and often ignored mineral is often lacking in many people’s diet. It can help combat colds and may help reduce some symptoms of depression or other mental disorders.

Remember, as with herbal supplementation you should embark on vitamin and nutritional therapy under a skilled practitioner’s guidance.

Even when we try to eat well, we're disadvantaged. The nutritional content of most food has been compromised over the years, not only by deficient soils and modern production, transportation, storage and processing methods, but also by the enormous amounts of chemical and artificial substances added to promote growth, storage life, taste and appearance.

It's for this reason that more and more medical authorities are advocating the use of vitamin and mineral supplements. However, finding them in the right combination can be both confusing and costly.

The nutrition products I am going to recommend you make use of knowledge gained from the botanical world's 6,000 year history. They incorporated health building nutritional herbs with the best modern technology to help our bodies cleanse and detoxify so that the cells - the tiniest living units - can be as fully nourished as possible.

This allows the cells to grow, repair and to perform their functions with the best possible efficiency so that we feel and look better and are more able to prevent and fight disease. Once the body begins to clear itself of toxins it can more efficiently absorb nutrition.

As Aloe Vera Juice is a refreshing and anti-bacterial drink, you might find that taking this daily, diluted in some filtered water will not only refresh you like ‘a shower inside you’ but also assists in dealing with any digestive issues you may also be experiencing. Taken with Flora-Fiber tabs it will cleanse your digestive system and improve your immunity levels overall.

You may find benefit from our information on detoxification as well as a bit about detoxing because of change of diet

It may be due to difficulties with your digestive system that is causing your body to be starved of key nutrients, vitamins or minerals. In this case you may find useful answers by reviewing our article on Nutrition For Your Cells. There is also more information here about why is nutrition such an issue nowadays?

It may be that your metabolism has slowed due to pressures that have been placed on your system through life in general or through specific “challenges” you have faced in the last few months or last few years. Review this by looking at our article about balancing your Metabolic Rate.

Further reading through our articles on health issues will give you a body of information that will help you decide what options you have to deal with the underlying causes of your problem through giving your body the nutrition products that will assist you body to heal from the inside out.

You can visit our health food products page here: Herbalife Health Nutrition Supplements and learn more about our core nutrition program, the Cellular Nutrition Advanced Program and also check out these targeted products, Florafiber to replace your healthy flora and Aloe Vera Juice to help cleanse your system.

Most mental health disorders are complex and often misunderstood, that affects millions of people every year. It is important that patients understand their disorder is one that they can live with, and even learn to enjoy life with.

There are many misconceptions surrounding mental health disorders. There are times when a patient’s symptoms may become very serious. In cases like this it is critical a person seek professional care and guidance. A mental health disorder can manifest in many different ways. It can for example, manifest as a mild disorder with mild mood swings, or a major mood disorder with swings that are very extreme.

There are many approaches to treating a mental disorder. A patient should always work with a competent doctor or other healthcare provider they can rely and trust on in times of need. Also important to one’s health is his or her ability to build a supportive wellness team.

Your wellness team can help you during the tough times, offering support and helping you make critical decisions when you may not be up to it. The most important step a patient can take, the one that will ultimately lead to their success and fulfillment, is to take a proactive role in their recovery and in their care. To do this, you must first embrace and accept the fact that you have a mental health disorder.

Once you do this, life gets a lot easier. You can then help manage your disorder by working actively with each member of your wellness team as well as with members of your family and your healthcare team to create an action plan that allows you to live a happy, healthy life. Many people live with mental health disorders. Your job is to learn to not only live with, but also learn to enjoy life with bipolar disorder or any serious ailment.

Congratulations on taking a step in the right direction, one that will lead to your long-term recovery and happiness.

We wish you well in your search for solutions to this problem and your movement towards better health in all areas.

The information provided is to be used for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for seeking professional care in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders. Information may be reproduced with an acknowledgement to the Mental Health Association NSW. This, and other fact sheets are available for download from This fact sheet was last updated in Summer, 2002.

Mental Health Problems
Various factors either contribute to or challenge our ability to look after our "whole person". These factors include our degree of self-discipline, how aware we are of our feelings and thoughts, how well we know ourselves. Factors outside ourselves include the nature of our home and work environment, our financial situation, the current state of our relationships with important people in our lives - friends, partners, families and work colleagues. The quality of our mental health varies depending on our experience and circumstances. Periods of emotional or financial stress can take their toll on mental health. Working your way, mindfully, through life's difficulties can help us to grow in our emotional life and self-esteem, so that we are even better prepared for future challenges.

If the tension gets too much for us to cope with, however, it can cause us to "break down" emotionally or mentally, that is, not be able to carry on our lives in health. At these times, we may need to ask for help or support while we adjust. Many people live with disability, including physical illness or mental illness, and cope in a healthy way. The challenge for all of us is to search out new ways to cope.
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