With the advent of community care many relatives of mentally ill people have become family care givers. Substantial burdens are associated with caring for a mentally ill relative living in the community and these may be compounded in rural areas where mental health programs are often under-resourced and poorly developed. ‘Burden’ refers to the demands and responsibilities associated with having a mentally ill person in the family. Objective burden refers to consequences for the family of a family member becoming ill. Subjective burden refers to family thoughts and feelings about the family member’s situation and the expectation to provide care. Previous studies have shown that increasing the level of support to families reduces the burden of care.
Hazelton, M, Habibis, D, Schneider, R, Davidson, JA & Bowling, AC 2004, 'Effect of an extended-hours community mental health team on family caregiving in a semi-rural region of Australia’, Australian Journal of Rural Health, vol. 12, no. 5, pp. 220-222.
Publisher version of article available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1854.2004.00608.x