Research has documented that providing care to the mental illness patient can make the caregivers themselves more vulnerable to physical, emotional, social and financial problems. A number of different services designed to support caregivers of patients with mental illness have emerged in the last decade, such as support groups, respite care, and adult day care. A support group can offer compensatory social ties and a safe environment for caregivers to regain equilibrium. Support groups have proved to be a successful intervention and strategy to address the problems of caregivers. The article addresses the major aspects of support groups (types of support group, function of support group and its structure and membership) and also examines related methodological issues and research designs characterized in recent literature. This paper also evaluates recent studies on conducting support groups for caregivers of mental illness patients. Methodological barriers that have limited the research potential in this field are addressed in this article. This paper also discusses the progress made in caregiver's support group research. Attention to issues related to caregivers' support groups provided us with ”know-how” in conducting a support group and enabled us to advance knowledge and research about caregiving and support groups.
- Support Group
- Mental Illness