Mental health problems are just as difficult for family and friends as it is for patients. If you are close to a loved one who is experiencing anxiety or depression, you could be affected in many different ways.
Nonetheless, family and friends play a critical role in helping mental health patients recover. A Canadian study found that loved ones have a strong influence on the recovery process. That’s because family members and friends are emotionally invested in treating even the most serious forms of mental illness.
The strongest bonds are the ones that can provide the best kind of help. So, if you have a friend or a family member who has a mental health problem, you need to know how you can reach out and support them in their journey. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Educate yourself about mental health
It’s easy to say that a loved one is “just having a tantrum” or “having one of those days.” But you need to realize that certain behaviors or habits have a psychological basis. They can even be symptoms of a potential mental health problem. At this point, you can’t afford to ignore these problems as they develop into serious conditions.
It matters a lot to be sensitive to what your loved ones are doing and watch out for warning signs. If a loved one has lost their enthusiasm for the things they like and has become detached from the rest of the family, spare no time to reach out. To be sure, there are tons of online resources you can check out that can provide information on how you can approach a person with a possible illness.
Be patient and non-confrontational
For the most part, mental health problems are often hidden from plain view. Patients might feel embarrassed to talk about their issues, especially with a family member or friend. It’s not advisable to make them admit that something’s wrong, so it’s important to bide your time and wait for the perfect opportunity to talk to the person one-on-one. You should also let them know that you are ready to listen without judgment.
Take care of yourself
It will take some time before a loved one finally opens up and talk about their struggles. Until then, don’t let the experience frustrate you. But even if they do open up, it can get stressful to talk about their struggles. If your goal is to help them lead a better life, it’s important to secure your mental well-being.
That said, take a rest and develop healthy habits that include ample sleep, a balanced diet, and exercise. Take the time to nurture yourself so you can better help your loved one on the road to recovery.
Get involved in their treatment options
Another way you can help a loved one overcome a mental illness is to get involved in picking the right treatment options. One thing’s for sure, helping them cope with their condition isn’t going to be enough. You will also need to look for a therapist or a mental health clinic that can diagnose the problem and come up with the right treatment plan.
In addition, you also need to work closely with a mental health specialist who can recommend activities and approaches that will help the person recover. With expert help, you can give your loved one hope for a better life.
Are you looking for a therapist or a mental health clinic that can help address potential mental health problems in a family member or friend?
Feel free to reach out to us at Mid Cities Psychiatry and learn why we’re the best partners on the path to recovery.
I have been diagnosed with Bi polar with Dr Kazi and not with UT Southwestern Psychiatric. But my family is verbally abusive towards my mental illness. That’s no way to live.