Family Members and Support Givers

Surviving the Crisis of Depression & Bipolar (Manic-Depression) Illness
Mark A. Halebsky
The book is useful for family members, friends, and significant others, and persons concerned with the mentally ill. It provides practical approaches and specific techniques, which can be used in the everyday management of depression and bipolar disorder.

When Someone You Love Has a Mental Illness: A Handbook for Family, Friends, and Caregivers†
Rebecca Woolis
A quick reference book full of practical advice on dealing with situations that arise in caring for a loved one with a severe mental illness.

What Goes Up... Surviving the Manic Episode of a Loved One
Judy Eron
The author tells the story of her husband's year-long manic episode and finally his depression and suicide. With the benefit of hindsight she points out errors and how she might have handled things better.
Author's website

Manic Depression: How to Live While Loving a Manic Depressive
Lynn Bradley
Describes what it is like to live with a bipolar husband. Offers ways to cope with a spouse with bipolar disorder and strategies to care for oneself.

Helping Someone with Mental Illness: A Compassionate Guide for Family, Friends, and Caregivers†
Rosalynn Carter, Susan K. Golant
The author manages to weave the deeply moving stories of many individuals into a cleanly organized discussion of every salient issue: diagnosis, treatment, research, stigma, and advocacy. Her descriptions of the different mental illnesses—schizophrenia, depression, bipolar illness, and the anxiety disorders—are particularly cogent. She delivers her message with warmth, clarity, and candor.

We Heard the Angels of Madness: A Family Guide to Coping With Manic Depression
Diane Berger, Alexander Vuckovic
A well written book giving the story of a young man who developed bipolar disorder at age 19. It features the juxtaposition of the son's recollections of his hallucinations and the mothers account of what the family was observing. The family's difficulties with incompetent psychiatrists are also presented.

When Someone You Love Is Depressed: How to Help Your Loved One Without Losing Yourself
Laura Epstein Rosen, Xavier F. Amador
One of the best of many books written for those suffering from depression. Rosen's work is not as much about the causes and symptoms of depression as about how depression affects relationships. The author's ultimate goal is to help readers learn strategies to counter interaction problems, and she succeeds in this attempt.

I am Not Sick I Don't Need Help!
Xavier Amador
First, Dr. Amador establishes that most denials of treatment are but manifestations of the illness and that it is the illness that is the enemy. He then presents a powerful game plan for penetrating sickness induced lack of insight that will maximize the cooperation with treatment of those affected.

Loving Someone With Bipolar Disorder: Understanding and Helping Your Partner
Julie A. Fast, John D. Preston
Fast is a health writer, Preston a clinical psychologist, both are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The book is written to the partner of someone with bipolar disorder and designed to mend strained relationships. Through the tools offered in the book, readers learn how to control episodic crises and discover how to create a loving, healthy, and supportive relationship with a person who has bipolar disorder.

Daughter of the Queen of Sheba: A Memoir†
Jacki Lyden
Black humor alternates with almost unbearable pathos in National Public Radio journalist Jacki Lyden's memoir of her mother's manic-depressive episodes. In so vividly capturing both the horror of her mother's illness and the seductive, transporting power of her insanity—its energy, its dazzling boldness—Lyden communicates one of the most elusive lessons of adulthood: how it's possible to love a parent not just in spite of her or his flaws but also because of them.

How to Live With a Mentally Ill Person: A Handbook of Day-To-Day Strategies†
Christine Adamec
A how-to book of practical advice by a professional writer who has a daughter with schizophrenia. The author emphasizes the importance of accepting the illness and moving on. She offers advice on making sure the patient takes prescribed medication; handling public outbursts; obtaining financial aid; working with institutional systems; and much more.

The Caring Family: Living With Chronic Mental Illness†
Kayla F. Bernheim, Richard R. J. Lewine, Caroline T. Beale
One of the first books written for family members caring for a loved one with severe mental illness. The authors discuss common reactions such as guilt, shame, anger and despair and offer suggestions for dealing with them. They also focus on individual and family dynamics that result from the illness.

Surviving Mental Illness: Stress, Coping, and Adaptation
Agnes B. Hatfield, Harriet P. Lefley, John S. Strauss
In this vivid personal account of the aftermath of her son's suicide, Chance shares her pain, guilt, and anger, her expertise as a psychiatrist, and her methods for healing.

The Burden of Sympathy: How Families Cope With Mental Illness
David Allen Karp
Working from sixty extensive interviews, the author reveals striking similarities in the experiences of caregivers: the feelings of shame, fear, guilt and powerlessness in the face of a socially stigmatized illness; the frustration of navigating the complex network of bureaucracies that govern the mental health system; and most of all, the difficulty negotiating an "appropriate" level of involvement with the mentally ill loved one while maintaining enough distance for personal health. The book gives an insightful, deeply caring look at mental illness and captures the essence of caring and caregivers.

How to Cope With Mental Illness in Your Family: A Self-Care Guide for Siblings, Offspring, and Parents
Diane T. Marsh, Rex M. Dickens
An excellent book on self-help and coping skills for those with severe mental illness in the family. The authors are long time members of NAMI and this book is a synthesis of what they have been told by hundreds of family members.

The Ups and Downs of Raising a Bipolar Child: A Survival Guide for Parents
J. Lederman, C. Fink
Written by the parent of a child with bipolar disorder with the assistance of a psychiatrist this book gives parents the sound advice and expert information they need to cope with this challenging diagnosis. It shows how to provide essential care and support for a bipolar child as well as for the rest of the family and offers tips such as coping with teens who get into legal trouble and talking to siblings about the child's illness.

How You Can Survive When They're Depressed†
Anne Sheffield
"Depression fallout" is the emotional upheaval suffered by the friends and family members of someone who's depressed. The author compassionately recalls situations discussed in her support group to illustrate how "co-sufferers" can successfully cope with their grief, confusion, guilt, and reduced self-esteem.

His Bright Light: The Story of Nick Traina†
Danielle Steel
An exceptional book about the author's son who developed bipolar disorder in his early teens. The author gives a devastating account of the incompetence of the mental health professionals to whom she turned for help. Despite his mother's best efforts Nick kills himself at age 19. The devastation wrought by this suicide, and the unending sadness, fills the final pages.

On the Outside Looking In
Jody M. Ehrhardt
Written by the mother of a 12 year old boy with bipolar disorder this book shares her daily struggles, her mistakes and her frustrations. She opens up their daily lives in a very vulnerable way and she includes humor when she can find it.

Stronger than Death: When Suicide Touches Your Life†
Sue Chance
A practical and well written book for families trying to cope when a family member becomes seriously mentally ill. It emphasized the importance of understanding what the sick person is experiencing.

Planning for the Future: Providing a Meaningful Life for a Child With a Disability After Your Death
L. Mark Russell, Arnold E. Grant, Suzanne M. Joseph
This is essential reading for anyone trying to plan the future of a mentally disabled family member. It covers everything from government benefits to wills, trusts, power of attorney, estate planning and nursing home expenses and contains many detailed examples.

Acquainted with the Night: A parent's quest to understand depression and bipolar disorder in his children
Paul Raeburn
Raeburn writes, "There is no manual for taking care of a child with a psychiatric ailment," and it's crucial that readers of this soul-baring memoir know this isn't meant to be one. Raeburn fully discloses the daily struggles he faces with his children, one bipolar, the other chronically depressed, but what emerges is less about them than about him.