Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Families with Severe Mental Illness

  • Andrea ReupertEmail author
  • Darryl Maybery
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_491


A severe mental illness involves dysfunction in cognition, behavior, and/or emotion, persists over time, and results in serious functional impairment in one or more major life activities such as interpersonal relationships or employment. In 2014, there were an estimated 9.8 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States with a severe mental illness, representing 4.2 % of all US adults (Hedden et al. 2014).

Historically, persons with severe mental illnesses lived in institutions, apart from their families. Today, with deinstitutionalization and advances in psychotropic medications, most individuals live in the community. Some live with family members and while others may live independently, their family often offers critical support. The term “family” might encompass parents, children, siblings, partners, and other extended family members; family might refer to one’s family of origin (the family an individual is born into) and/or family of procreation or choice. Osher...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Krongold Clinic, Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Rural and Indigenous HealthMonash UniversityMoeAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Mudita Rastogi
    • 1
  1. 1.Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Argosy UniversitySchaumburgUSA