It can be difficult to know what to do or how to help when a loved one is struggling with a mental health disorder. Mental health issues can be very isolating and frightening for the person who is suffering from them, and they can also be very frustrating and overwhelming for family and friends.
But don’t worry – you are not alone. There are several different ways that you can support your loved one in their journey to recovery.
Educate yourself about mental health disorders
The first step in helping a loved one who is struggling with a mental health disorder is to educate yourself about the disorder. It is important to understand what the disorder is, how it affects the person suffering from it, and what treatments are available. There are mental health disorders that are linked to substance abuse, and some are more commonly associated with specific age groups, genders, or ethnicities. Gaining a better understanding of the disorder will allow you to provide the most effective support for your loved one.
There are many resources available online and at your local library that can help you learn more about mental health and you may also want to talk to a professional counselor or therapist who specializes in these disorders and ask them for their advice on how best to help the person you love.
Provide emotional support
Having a mental health disorder can be deeply isolating and emotionally draining for the person suffering from it. Providing emotional support for your loved ones can help to lessen this sense of isolation and make them feel less alone.
You can do this by listening without judgment, offering a shoulder to cry on when they need one, or being there just to talk. You may also want to find ways that you can show your love and support such as through kind words, hugs, or simple gestures like cooking their favorite food.
On the other hand, communication is often strained when someone is suffering from a mental health disorder. It can be difficult for them to articulate how they are feeling, and they may lash out or withdraw from those closest to them
If this is the case with your loved one, it is important to be patient and understand that it is not personal. Try to provide support in a non-judgmental and non-confrontational way, and offer help in small steps rather than overwhelming them with too much at once.
Encourage them to get professional help
If your loved one is struggling with a mental health disorder, they need to get professional help. This can be in the form of therapy, medication, or both. Mental health issues are complex and often require a multi-faceted approach to treatment. For example, someone who is experiencing depression may benefit from seeing a therapist for talk therapy as well as taking medication to help alleviate their symptoms.
It can be difficult and scary for your loved one to decide to go see a professional, but you can provide support by reassuring them that this is a positive step in the right direction. Remind them that they are not alone and that millions of people around the world seek help for mental health issues each year.
You can also help your loved one research potential therapists or doctors and even make an appointment for them if you feel comfortable doing so.
Encourage healthy lifestyle choices and positive self-care
Mental health issues can take a toll on the body, so it is important to encourage healthy behaviors such as eating nutritious food and getting enough sleep. Encouraging your loved ones to prioritize things like exercise and relaxation may also help them to feel better physically and emotionally. Many people with mental health troubles struggle with self-care, so it is important to be supportive and understanding.
One way to encourage positive self-care is to model these behaviors yourself. If you are eating healthy and exercising regularly, your loved one will be more likely to do the same. You can also help them by providing resources such as books or articles on healthy lifestyle choices, encouraging them to join a gym or other fitness group, or cooking them meals that are healthy and delicious.
Mental health disorders can affect someone’s ability to work or go to school. In these cases, you must provide practical assistance such as helping your loved one look for employment opportunities or taking over some of their responsibilities at home or work. This can help to take some of the pressure off and make it easier for them to focus on getting better.
Recovery from a mental health disorder is often a long and difficult process. There will be good days and bad days, and it is important to be patient with your loved ones as they work to get better. Remember that you can play an important role in their recovery by offering support and understanding, encouraging healthy lifestyle choices, and helping them access the resources and treatment they need to get well.
With time, patience, and love, your loved one can recover from their mental health disorder and learn to manage it effectively.