WHAT IS KNOWN ON THE SUBJECT?: Adults who support an adult family member with a severe and enduring mental health problem often experience carer burden. Over time, this often negatively affects their mental and physical health and social well-being. Understanding and communicating about mental health problems in families can help to improve resilience and coping among both adults and children. WHAT DOES THIS PAPER ADD TO EXISTING KNOWLEDGE?: We conducted a review of studies looking at how adult relatives understand and communicate about an adult family member's mental health problem.