One of the major goals for a caregiver is to help the person with mental illness accept his or her illness as a reality, but become determined not to be totally defined by it. That's tough. People with mental illness often feel bad about themselves. Some are overwhelmed by raging emotion. Some feel continual apathy. Both can struggle with hopelessness.
This excellent first-person video about having schizophrenia and obtaining a recovery that was posted on YouTube a few days ago. It describes the situation better than I ever could.