Family Resources

Family Resources: General Education

The following General Education family resources have helped families understand what their loved one is experiencing.

Skip to section: Mood Disorders, Schizophrenia, First Episode Psychosis,
Siblings, First person account family members

Mood Disorders

Touched with Fire
Kay Redfield Jamison
Free Press, 1996

From Chapters/Indigo:

The definitive work on the profound and surprising links between manic-depression and creativity, from the bestselling psychologist of bipolar disorders who wrote An Unquiet Mind.

One of the foremost psychologists in America, “Kay Jamison is plainly among the few who have a profound understanding of the relationship that exists between art and madness” (William Styron).

The anguished and volatile intensity associated with the artistic temperament was once thought to be a symptom of genius or eccentricity peculiar to artists, writers, and musicians. Her work, based on her study as a clinical psychologist and researcher in mood disorders, reveals that many artists subject to exalted highs and despairing lows were in fact engaged in a struggle with clinically identifiable manic-depressive illness.

Jamison presents proof of the biological foundations of this disease and applies what is known about the illness to the lives and works of some of the world’s greatest artists including Lord Byron, Vincent Van Gogh, and Virginia Woolf.

Clinical psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison was born on June 22, 1946. She received a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is considered one of the foremost experts on bipolar disorder, which she has had since her early adulthood. She is Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a Honorary Professor of English at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She is the author of numerous books including An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness; Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide; and Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament.


Learning About Schizophrenia: Rays of Hope A Reference Manual for Families and Caregivers, 4th Edition  
Schizophrenia Society of Canada, 2012



This guide will provide insights into the challenges that a person recovering from schizophrenia or psychosis must face, understanding of the disorder itself, and information about its symptoms, treatments, services and supports. It will explore the impact of the illness on families,  and offer advice on how to cope with schizophrenia, make sense of the service system, and foster recovery. It is through understanding that people with schizophrenia and their families will find their path to coping and recovery.

Surviving Schizophrenia A Family Manual 7th Edition  
E. Fuller Torrey
Harper Collins, 2019

EPION Parent Review:

“I agree with Chapter’s description of this book. It has been my “go to” manual since I learned of my loved one’s illness. I read it cover to cover, and still return to the book from time to time. The information is extensive and was current (there will be a new edition out in March, 2019). It’s a great resource for those looking for a broad collection of information. It covered everything I had questions about, as well as answers to questions I had not yet formulated.  Although technical, it is readable. Dr. Torrey has lived experience with a loved one, and it is evident.”

From Chapters/Indigo:

Updated throughout and filled with all the latest research, the bestselling Surviving Schizophrenia is back, now in its sixth edition.

Since its first publication in 1983, Surviving Schizophrenia has become the standard reference book on the disease and has helped thousands of patients, their families, and mental health professionals. In clear language, this much-praised and important book describes the nature, causes, symptoms, treatment, and course of schizophrenia and also explores living with it from both the patient’s and the family’s point of view. This new, completely updated sixth edition includes the latest research findings on what causes the disease, as well as information about the newest drugs for treatment, and answers the questions most often asked by families, consumers, and providers.

E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., is a research psychiatrist specializing in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He is the executive director of the Stanley Medical Research Institute, the founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center, a professor of psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and the author of twenty books. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

Schizophrenia: An information guide
Debby Ernest, MSW, RSW,  Olga Vuksic, RN, MScN, Ashley Shepard-Smith, MSW, RSW, Emily Webb, MscOT, OT Reg (ON)
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 2017



This guide is for people with schizophrenia, their families and friends, and anyone else interested in better understanding the illness and what it is like to experience it.

The guide should answer many of the questions you may have about schizophrenia. It can also help you to know what questions to ask treatment providers. You may wish to read it from beginning to end, or to dip into it. Keep in mind, though, that some terms and concepts are explained in the opening chapters.

We want the guide to promote hope, and to provide information that empowers people with schizophrenia, and their families, to take charge of their treatment and their lives. However, the guide also acknowledges the challenges that schizophrenia can bring. The experience of the illness varies widely depending on the person, the support available to them, and where they are in their recovery journey. The quotations we include from people with experience of schizophrenia illustrate this range of experience.

Caring for People with Psychosis and Schizophrenia
Future Learn Kings College London England


Course Description:

Explore the key issues related to caring for a relative with psychosis or schizophrenia, with this short, free online course.

Psychosis conditions, including schizophrenia, are treatable mental health problems that can affect anyone although very few people talk about the conditions and their impact on families. Millions of people across the globe find themselves thrust unexpectedly into a role providing support and care when a relative develops psychosis. Carers can play a major role in supporting their relative’s progress and recovery.

This four-week course will explore some of the key issues and questions relevant to a carer who is supporting a relative with psychosis such as:

– Why is schizophrenia described as psychosis?

– How can we best understand psychosis and its key symptoms such as hearing voices?

– What are the links between cannabis use and developing psychosis?

– Can psychosis affect physical health?

– How do medications in psychosis work and what effects can they have?

– In what ways are siblings of people with psychosis affected?

– How can psychosis affect a carer’s health and their relationships?

This free online course will provide opportunities to share your views and experiences with carers from around the world.

First Episode Psychosis

First Episode Psychosis: An information guide
Sarah Bromley, OT Reg (Ont), Monica Choi, MD, FRCPC, Sabiha Faruqui, MSc (OT)
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 2015



The purpose of this information guide is to provide information about a first episode of psychosis, its treatment and recovery. It has been written for people experiencing a first episode of psychosis and their family members, to help them gain a better understanding of this illness. Increased awareness of the signs and symptoms of psychosis promotes early detection and appropriate treatment and, in turn, more successful recovery from the psychotic episode.


A Sibling’s Guide to Psychosis: Information, Ideas and Resources
Sharon Mulder and Elizabeth Lines
Canadian  Mental Health Association, 2005


First Person Account Family Members

Grieving Mental Illness; A Guide for Patients and Their Caregivers
Virginia Lafond
University of Toronto Press, 2002

From Chapters/Indigo:

This is a self-help book for anyone who has endured the effects of mental illness, whether as a sufferer, friend, family member, or care- giver. It offers detailed, jargon-free guidelines to help readers come to terms with mental illness in a positive way, while avoiding dis- abling emotional responses to illness. Sophisticated in approach and comprehensive in its treatment, this book will be useful both to health-care workers and to the general public.

Virginia Lafond’s experience as a mental health practitioner has taught her that grieving is always a partner to mental illness. There are very real losses associated with any illness and grieving for them, whether the grief is recognized as such or not, is inevitable. Unacknowledged grief takes its toll, slowing or even stalling recov- ery. Using grief as a healthy, normal, adaptive process enhances recovery, allowing positive choices to be made. The result can help sufferers come to terms with their illness and prepare them for suc- cess in rehabilitation programs.

Lafond offers engaging and empathetic advice on how to move forward from the suffering associated with mental illness. By con- sciously grieving we can help bring healing and wholeness to our lives, resulting in new ways of coping, reduced stress, and greater self-esteem.

First published in 1994, this revised edition contains a new introduction and two new appendices: ‘A Worker’s Guide for Working with the Grief of Mental llness’ and ‘Mental Illness: Responses to Frequently Asked Question’.

Virginia Lafond is a social worker in the Schizophrenia Service of the Royal Ottawa Hospital.

After her brain broke: helping my daughter recover her sanity
Susan Inman
Bridgeross Communications, 2010

From Chapters/Indigo:

Susan Inman’s memoir describes her family’s nine year journey to help her younger daughter recover from a catastrophic schizoaffective disorder. “Highly recommended” by Dr. E. Fuller Torrey author of Surviving Schizophrenia and described by him as “…one of the best accounts I have read of serious mental illness as told by a mother.” From the introduction, Michael Kirby, Chair of the Mental Health Commission of Canada and Ella Amir, the chair of the Caregiver’s Advisory Committee state “Susan’s heart wrenching account is an important reminder of the work we still have to do to ensure that people with mental illness and their families get the same treatment and respect that individuals with physical illnesses receive. It is also testimony to the devotion and dedication of families, which sadly often comes at the expense of their own well-being” Harvard psychiatrist, Dr. Stephanie Engel said “Susan Inman has written a much needed book about her experience as a mother coming to grips with her daughter’s devastating mental illness. Other parents will recognize and take comfort from her courageous and persistent efforts to learn what is known about psychotic illnesses and their treatment, while holding tenaciously to her own personal knowledge of what it means to be a loving, humane and thoughtful parent. Believing in one’s own instincts as a parent in the face of expertise, myths and prejudices is a monumental task, and Ms Inman does it with grace and conviction.”Emergency room physician and international best selling author, Dr. Daniel Kalla said “After Her Brain Broke is a harrowing, heart wrenching, and ultimately triumphant story of one family’s struggle with a child’s mental illness. It’s impossible not to be moved by Susan Inman’s honest and touching account of her daughter’s sudden descent into mental health turmoil and the family’s long hard battle to overcome it. A must read for families coping with a mental illness, and a wonderful eye-opener for those of us lucky enough not to have been affected.”

Hidden Lives Coming out of Mental Illness
Edited by Lenore Rowntree and Andrew Boden; Forward by Gabor Mate, MD
Brindle and Glass Publishing Ltd, 2012

In the Forward of this book Gabor Mate expresses that the anthology, a collection of first-hand accounts from those who suffer, their families, siblings, and others “communicates not despair but courage”. In her Introduction co-editor Lenore Rowntree states, “We hope this … engages you and helps you to make some connections. We’re all in this together”. Those whose loved ones suffer psychosis have few in their lives who really “get” what this looks and feels like. One finds so many accounts that resonate, and to which family can relate, even those without mental illness (autism). Even the few difficult moments of the book are helpful on some level, and is the only book I have found that enables one to feel connection, to grieve, and to better understand their loved one’s journey of intense courage.

All Family Resources:

General Education

Lived Experience with Psychosis

Caring for Someone