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Brochure – National Caregiving Support Guidelines

A loved one’s mental health problem or illness often impacts family, friends, and supporters. Caring for a person living with a mental illness can create emotional, physical, financial, and social burdens for caregivers. The Mental Health Commission of Canada has created guidelines for policymakers and service providers that seek to recognize and support family caregivers’ needs, including recommendations on services and supports caregivers find useful.


For Canadians living with mental health problems or illnesses, caregivers—whether relatives or people from a broader circle of support—can be crucial to recovery. Caregivers often provide support in many ways, including help with navigating the mental health system, accessing services, transportation, advocating for services and providing social, financial and emotional support.

The role of family caregivers in encouraging recovery and well-being among people with mental illness must be better recognized and supported within the mental health system and within our society.

Early information, guidance and support can help caregivers fulfill their caregiving responsibilities effectively and, when adequately provided, can also ease the stress often associated with caregiving.

By contrast, caregivers who are not supported can experience a diminished capacity to provide care and maintain their own health and wellbeing.


The National Guidelines for a Comprehensive Service System to Support Family Caregivers of Adults with Mental Health Problems and Illnesses present recommendations that are intended to improve a caregiver’s capacity to provide the best possible care to adults living with mental illness while maintaining their own well-being.

Primarily aimed at service providers and policymakers, these Guidelines offer recommendations for many of the types of supports and services that caregivers need at different stages of their loved one’s illness and at different stages of their own lives.

Recommendations include topics such as how to integrate family support into mental health services, training and support for service providers and potential legislative and policy changes.

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