Family members often provide significant support and care to their relative who has a mental illness. Nonetheless, how family members might be part of an individual's mental health recovery journey is rarely considered. The aim of this study was to investigate how those with a mental illness define 'family' and the role of family (if any) in their recovery journey. A qualitative approach was used. Purposive sampling and snowballing were used to recruit and conduct semi‐structured interviews with 12 people who have been diagnosed with a severe mental illness.