The aim of this study was to develop a model of mental health professional (MHP) support based on the needs of families with a member suffering from severe mental illness (SMI). Twelve family members were interviewed with the focus on their needs of support by MHP, then the interviews were analyzed according to the grounded theory method. The generated model of MHP support had two core categories: the family members' process from crisis to recovery and their interaction with the MHP about mental health/illness and daily living of the person with SMI. Interaction based on ongoing contact between MHP and family members influenced the family members' process from crisis towards recovery. Four MHP strategies--being present, listening, sharing and empowering--met the family members' needs of support in the different stages of the crisis. Being present includes early contact, early information and protection by MHP at onset of illness or relapse. Listening includes assessing burden, maintaining contact and confirmation in daily living for the person with SMI. Sharing between MHP and family members includes co-ordination, open communication and security in daily living for the person with SMI. Finally, the MHP strategy empowering includes creating a context, counselling and encouraging development for the family members. The present model has a holistic approach and can be used as an overall guide for MHP support in clinical care of families of persons with SMI. For future studies, it is important to study the interaction of the family with SMI and the connection between hope, coping and empowerment.