How To Support a Loved One With Mental Illness

If you don't know how to support a loved one with mental illness, you're not alone. One in three people will struggle with mental illness during their lifetime.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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As a society, we're increasingly coming to understand how common mental health conditions are. According to Mental Health First Aid, almost 50% of adults in the US will experience a mental health condition during their lifetime. The same report assures that 5% of people above 18 years old experience a mental illness in any year.

There's strong evidence that good work can have significant health benefits for those who struggle with this condition. Kati Morton, a licensed therapist with more than ten years of experience, gives out some tips to help a loved one with a mental illness.

Here are a few ways from the expert to encourage a conversation that will help lead to a positive solution.

1. Be a Good Friend

Even if it's a family member, you can still be a friend to them. That means you should call them, text them, and send voice memos. Check-in on them. All these forms of communication don't have to be "how is recovery going?" "Are you taking medication?" or "how are you feeling?" Instead, try a "hey, how's it going?" or "I've noticed you've been a little down, and I want you to know I'm here for you." Remember that you shouldn't force them or push your agenda onto them. Just show how important are they for you.


2. Educate Yourself

If you know a friend or family member is going through any medical illness like depression, find out how that feels for them. You can educate yourself about it, like what depression is and how it is diagnosed. You can easily know more about these topics through YouTube, Googling, WebMD, etc. If they're comfortable, ask them to tell you about it. Remember that everyone's mental illness affects them differently. Notice if you're making assumptions about their situation and instead ask questions and seek to understand.

3. Assist in Any Way You Can

This means that if you're making sure if they're okay (tip number 1) and educating yourself (tip number 2), you're ready to be a main source of support for them. If your loved one says that they want to get into treatment, help them out. You can offer to take them there, help them find someone, or, if you are a parent, letting your child know that you will be happy to pay for their sessions.

If your loved one is ready for that step, make it easier for them to help get the help that they need. It's essential as family members to understand that we can't hold someone against their will.

It can be hard to know how to help someone who is struggling with a mental illness. However, keep in mind the three key steps. If they feel lonely, you can do many things for them as a friend or family member.

Think of the ways you can help those that you love: gently and kindly by just letting them know that you're there for them.