Expressed Emotion

Most MH conditions are made worse by stress and improved by a relaxed environment. So family members who can remain calm, matter of fact and unruffled are directly contributing to the person’s welmonk-462181_640lbeing.

Shouting, crying, arguing, being too involved or over protective are unhelpful in the long term.

Calm is demonstrated by tone of voice, posture, stillness and giving space.


A useful summary is found in the book, ‘Mental Illness: A Handbook for Carers,’ in the chapter by Mari Anne Harty (see Resources):
“Mental health professionals recommend that the four most important needs of patients that family members should meet are


reduced stimulation,

appropriate expectations,

and sensitivity to a person’s self-esteem.” (page 266)

This doesn’t mean you should deny your negative feelings when they (inevitably) arise. It just means, whenever possible, that you vent them elsewhere! Denying those feelings are more likely to lead to a distressing incident than a smaller daily ’letting off steam’ in a way that suits you; maybe by running, writing, yoga, gardening, going to the shed or whatever activity allow you to focus on something different for a while.

See someone sympathetic and moan or have a good pillow bashing/crying session if it helps.
Being human means that the odd outburst is going to happen and adding guilt because you got angry isn’t helping you either. It’s just a case of bearing it in mind and doing the best you can.