We relatives – good that we exist!

Prof. Dr. med. Josef Bäuml, psychiatrist, author and retired research associate of the University Hospital Munich, presented in a lecture on October 4, 2023, the results of new studies in which the importance of involving relatives in psychiatric-psychotherapeutic treatment was examined.

The study confirms much that we relatives have long known, even without concrete figures:

  • that we are heavily burdened (like examinees before the state exam, but permanently),
  • that we often have to accept financial losses as well (applies to 87% of us),
  • that both are especially true for mothers, and especially for mothers of schizophrenia patients.
  • Two-thirds of the relatives show clear symptoms of depression.

Whether it’s hen or egg to begin with, whether an emotionally vibrant family overstresses one member’s stress level, or whether one member’s emotional upheaval triggers the rise of emotions throughout the family – in any case, involving loved ones in treatment significantly reduces the rate of relapse.

Prof. Bäuml recommends that clinics grant time off for family counseling, and that his colleagues develop an invitation routine and always have the red carpet ready for family members in their coat pockets.

After all, he said, relatives are the largest rehab facility in the world – and it’s free. Therefore, the self-image that speaks from a large poster at the entrance of a clinic in Switzerland could be a model for them:

We relatives – good that we exist!

The lecture will present further study results, such as on medication and treatment against will.