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Siblings of individuals with severe mental illness

Sin, J. ORCID: 0000-0003-0590-7165, Spain, D., Jordan, C. & Griffiths, C. (2014). Siblings of individuals with severe mental illness. Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, 9(4), pp. 215-221. doi: 10.1108/JMHTEP-04-2014-0006


Purpose – The importance of providing information, support and interventions for family members and carers of people who have severe mental illness (SMI) has garnered increasing attention in recent years. However, research to date has primarily focused on parents; the purpose of this paper is to review the literature investigating the experiences of siblings of individuals who have SMI.

Design/methodology/approach – A literature review was undertaken to summarise the empirical data regarding the experiences and needs of siblings, and their potential contribution to supporting their siblings’ recovery journey.

Findings – Sibling views, experiences and needs have thus far been little explored. Yet siblings often make significant contributions to their brother’s/sister’s care and social and emotional well-being, and their support can positively shape the recovery trajectory. This review finds that siblings require information and support for two reasons: to maintain their own well-being, and to be able to best support their sibling with SMI and the family as a whole. Several implications for clinical practice, workforce development and research are outlined.

Originality/value – This paper provides a timely review of the literature to enhance awareness of the needs and experiences of siblings for health and social care professionals. Examples of good practice are proposed for statutory and voluntary service settings.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact
Publisher Keywords: Carers, Schizophrenia, Psychosis, Severe mental illness, Family, Siblings, Brothers, Sisters
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Nursing
Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

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