Research indicates that a strong, supportive extended family system may improve family members’ mental health and even reduce depression. For some cultures, a robust family community is the norm, with aunts, uncles, and grandparents living nearby or even under the same roof as the nuclear family.
In the US, however, families are often geographically scattered. These families may need to involve friends, neighbors, and social organizations (e.g. church, community center) as a kind of “surrogate” extended family to take the place of absent aunts, uncles, and grandparents.
Regardless of whether you tap your own family members or engage the support of neighbors and friends, a consistent community of trusted adults can be a critical part of your child’s healing after treatment. This supportive network can include aunts, uncles, grandparents, trusted adult friends and neighbors, and even professionals such as a therapist or a mentor. The more safe options your child has for building supportive relationships with adults, the better.