Mental Issues: Supporting Loved Ones
Mental health problems affect millions of people around the world, and supporting a loved one who is struggling with mental health issues can be a challenging and emotional experience. Whether your loved one is dealing with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or another mental health condition, it’s important to know how to offer support and help them through difficult times. In this blog, we’ll explore some tips for supporting a loved one with mental health problems and helping them on their journey to recovery.
Show Up and Listen
When a loved one experiences mental health issues, simply showing up and listening can make a world of difference. Make time to spend with them regularly. Let them know you care and want to understand how they feel. Listen without judgment and validate their emotions.
Mental health conditions tend to wax and wane over time. Things may improve, then get worse again. Be patient through the ups and downs. Supporting a loved one is a marathon, not a sprint.
Try to understand things from their perspective. Recognize that their thoughts and behaviors may seem abnormal at times, but make sense to them. Avoid criticizing or lecturing. Rather, express compassion for how difficult things must be.
Focus on Strengths
People with mental health issues often struggle with self-worth and negativity. Instead of dwelling on problems, highlight their strengths, talents and value as a person. Remind them of how much you enjoy their company.
Offer Practical Help
Your loved one may need practical assistance on ‘bad days’. Offer to help with chores, manage responsibilities or provide any resources they need. Ask how you can best support them in the moment.
Connect to Resources
If your loved one isn’t already receiving professional help, encourage them to speak with a mental health provider. Offer to accompany them to their first appointment. Search online for mental health resources, support groups and community programs they could utilize.
While supportive, don’t let your loved one’s issues overwhelm you. Take care of yourself too. Set limits if their behavior becomes disruptive or unhealthy. Explain that while you want to help, there are boundaries for your own wellbeing.
Check In Often
Your loved one’s needs for support may fluctuate. Check in regularly to ask how they are doing and if anything has changed. Let them know you’re available anytime to listen or provide help.
Be Patient with Yourself
Caring for someone with mental health issues can be difficult and stressful. Allow yourself grace on hard days. Seek out your own support from friends or support groups. Remember that taking care of yourself is essential to caring for others.
Above all, simply be present in a compassionate way. Remind your loved one that you care, they are not alone and there is hope for better days ahead. With patience, understanding and practical support, you can make a real difference in their life and mental health journey.