This study aimed to discuss the way that families of individuals with mental health disturbances experience the political changes in the area, what they think about the new participation demands and about the impact that these demands have on their daily relations with the mental health services, and on their family care practices. The study was conducted from November 2008 to February 2009 in a mental health service in the city of Natal, Brazil. It is part of a master´s dissertation project that sought to analyze the chronic processes in this service. The results brought into evidence the several difficulties experienced by family members with the new mental health care proposals, that directly interfere in the co-responsibility perspective proposed by the Psychosocial Care Strategy. We believe that in order to promote the mental health deinstitutionalization process, the construction of co-responsibility between technical workers and family members must include: supportive actions to the families; changes in the work and management modes; advances in the social inclusion and psychosocial rehabilitation policies; mechanisms for the strengthening of social control; and empowerment stimulus for the client and his family members.
psychiatric reform; mental health; psychosocial rehabilitation; co-responsibility; family