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How To Support Someone With A Mental Illness

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Learn how you can support someone with struggling with mental illness. // mental health / mental health wellness / #mentalhealth #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthawareness #mind #mentalstrength

Being diagnosed with a mental illness is something that impacts the life of a person as well as their family. The unpredictability in the behavior of someone with mental illness makes it tough for family members who are trying to decide the best approach in helping their loved one.

It’s difficult to watch someone you care for struggle with everyday life because of their mental health. It may feel impossible at times, but there are ways you can learn how to support someone with a mental illness.

The Impact of Mental Illness on Family

It’s natural to experience different emotions when you’re trying to support a loved one with a mental illness. There are moments when you’re constantly worrying about the person’s safety. This is especially true if they are in a manic state, or suffering from paranoia. Other times you may experience feelings of frustration and anger as you try to find a balance between living your life and supporting your loved one. You may even begin to feel hopeless because despite your best efforts, you’ve exhausted your energy, time, and perhaps money in trying to help them.

How To Support Someone With A Mental Illness

-recognize the signs
-seek professional treatment
-be a source of encouragement

Recognize The Signs

Determining if someone has a mental illness isn’t something that’s always clear. So how do you separate “odd” behavior that may be part of a person’s personality from something as complex as a mental illness? Recognizing a shift in a person’s thinking and behavior are two early indicators of a potential mental illness.

– extreme mood change, including feelings of euphoria
– continuously feeling sad
– prolonged feelings of irritability or anger
– lack of appetite
– loss of interest in social activities
– thoughts of suicide
– trouble perceiving reality from delusional thinking (paranoia, hallucinations)

It’s important to note that each mental illness has different symptoms and that they present differently in children, adolescents, and adults. If you notice these signs in a person, it’s important to seek professional advice.

Seek Professional Treatment

Recognizing the signs of mental illness is an important first step in the treatment process. Convincing someone to seek professional treatment requires that person to be willing to accept help. Depending on age, due to patient rights, this may not be the easiest step when it comes to supporting someone with a mental illness. If you suspect that a loved one has a mental illness, reach out to that person in an approachable way.

Express that you’ve noticed a change in their behavior and because you care about their well-being, you would support them in seeking a professional opinion about their mental health. You don’t want the person to feel like they are being forced to seek help, as they may not believe anything is wrong with them. If you’re met with resistance, be a source of continuous encouragement.

Be A Source of Encouragement

Offering encouragement is sometimes the best way to support someone with a mental illness. Simply providing your time could make a significant difference to this person. People with a mental illness want to feel “normal”, so talking about their symptoms is uncomfortable. Instead of offering advice on how to cope with their illness, you could be the much-needed “listening ear” this person needs.

Be empathetic to what’s being shared and offer words of comfort and understanding. Tell the person that their illness doesn’t define them. You want to make them feel like they are loved and accepted regardless of their mental health.

Read More: Breaking The Silence On Mental Health

Accept The Individual As They Are

As stated earlier, those diagnosed with a mental illness want to fit the definition of normal. Therefore, being labeled as different, strange, and crazy makes one feel ostracized. You can limit this feeling in someone with a mental illness by pointing out their positive qualities.












  • Blair at 7:03 PM

    We have raised and supported our son who has autism for over twenty years. Everything you suggest are very helpful tips to anyone considering supporting a family member with mental health challenges. I might suggest to also find time for you and support for the family as a whole. Don’t expect that you will be able to or have to do it all on your own.

    • Sundaye at 10:40 PM

      Blair you make a great point! Being a caretaker is such a physically, mentally and emotionally draining role. Taking time to recharge oneself is very important in order to provide the best of care. Best of luck to you and your famiy as well. πŸ™‚

  • Wendy at 11:40 PM

    Thank you this is a great article, I have worked with the homeless some and know what signs to look for is extremely helpful.

    • Sundaye at 12:14 AM

      Your very welcome Wendy. I’m glad you were able to take away something useful from this. πŸ™‚

  • Tiffany at 9:18 AM

    you have a lot of great information here! Thank you for all of this!

    • Sunny at 9:21 AM

      Your welcome Tiffany! Thank you for taking the time to view it πŸ™‚

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