When someone you love has a mental illness, your first thought may be to help them in any way possible. You may not understand their symptoms personally, but still, feel a desire to make their life simpler. Family and friends can be an incredible asset to those battling mental illness. With the love and support of peers, the psychological symptoms that accompany mental illness can feel much more manageable.
According to Mental Health America, you can begin to support your loved one today by
- “Educating yourself about the diagnosis, illness symptoms and side effects from antipsychotic treatments and other medications. Local Mental Health America affiliates, public libraries, and the Internet are useful resources to learn about mental illnesses and treatment options.
- Recognize that your family member or friend may be scared and confused after receiving a diagnosis. Though some people are relieved to receive a diagnosis and actively seek treatment, it may feel devastating to others and bring on stressful feelings.
- Listen carefully to your family member or friend and express your understanding back to him or her. Recognize the feelings he or she is experiencing and don’t discount them, even if you believe them to be symptoms of the illness.
- Encourage your family member or friend to become an active member with his or her treatment team to gain knowledge about what treatments and services will help with recovery.
- Recognize that it may take time for your family member or friend to find the proper medications and dosages that work.
- Understand that recovery from mental illness isn’t merely a matter of “just staying on one’s medications.” Self-esteem, social support and a feeling of contributing to society are also essential elements in the recovery process.”
Supporting a loved one who is suffering from mental illness a feel rewarding as well for the individual helping. Understanding that you can make a difference today in your loved ones life is a great first step.
If you think that you or your loved might be struggling with a mental illness, please contact us at 469-714-0006 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer compassionate services for all ages and are committed to your emotional health.
“For Family & Friends.” Mental Health America, 18 Nov. 2013, www.mentalhealthamerica.net/family-friends.
Written by Aly Bowles – Social Media Coordinator