A MSW (Institute of Mental Health)
& Rotary Club of Northam Initiative

Caregiving Guidelines

Managing your Loved One's Illness Effectively

Effective and Constructive Communication Tips

Managing Non-Communication Behaviours

Managing Relapses and Crises

Managing Relapses & Crises

A relapse is the worsening of symptoms after apparent recovery. Experiencing a relapse can be distressing for your loved one and family. Below are a number of steps that you can take to minimise relapses of your loved one.

Minimising Relapses

1. Help your loved one plan and keep to a regular routine.

2. Take note of any unusual changes in your loved one’s behaviour or daily living patterns, such as difficulties communicating or carrying out of daily tasks.

3. Be aware of or involved in his medication-taking schedule. Ensure that he takes his medication as prescribed by his doctor.

4. Establish open and positive communication. This will foster trust in your relationship with your loved one and it is more likely that he will tell you when he is feeling unwell.

5. When you are concerned about your loved one having a relapse, notify mental health professionals who are caring for your loved one and request for an evaluation. Keep the mental health professionals' contact details in an accessible place.

6. Prepare a ‘Crisis Plan’ such as contact details of family, friends and professionals who can help when a relapse has occurred. Discuss with friends and family beforehand if they are willing to help in such situations.

When your loved one has a relapse…
  • Remain calm. Use a calm tone when talking to him.
  • Find out what your loved one is troubled by (voices, strange beliefs etc).
  • Give him some space and time to calm down.
  • Encourage your loved one to let you accompany him for treatment at IMH.
  • Contact the IMH Mobile Crisis Team helpline at 6389 2222 for advice. Or you can contact your loved one’s case manager, community psychiatric nurse (CPN), or the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team for assistance.

When the relapse turns into a CRISIS…
  • Talk to your loved one in a calm and soothing voice
  • Ask him how he would like to be helped
  • Keep a distance if your loved one is behaving in an aggressive or violent manner
  • Call the IMH Mobile Crisis Team helpline at 6389 2222 for assistance, or non-medical emergency ambulance if transportation is needed.
  • Seek police assistance when the situation turns violent or serious
  • Threat of violence has occurred