4 Ways To Support Someone Suffering From Mental Health Issues

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When someone you care about becomes ill, it may be worrisome; what more if they have a mental disorder. So, how do you help someone suffering from mental health issues?

A person suffering from mental health issues like everyone else needs special care and attention even if you can’t see the disease. It doesn’t imply you can’t do anything to support them. However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach for every given case.

Understanding How To Support Someone

Anxiety and stress are common human emotions. But they may become problematic when they worsen, persist for an extended period, or interfere with a person’s day-to-day activities. Moreover, mental health issues affect about one in four individuals each year. Hence, the majority of individuals have some personal experience with mental illness.

Research supports the importance of relatives and friends in the recovery process for those with mental health issues. This support system gives both physical and emotional care to those in need.

A person’s support system might be composed of various people who care about them. It may include their immediate family members, close friends, and others who are more distant, such as their colleagues and mentors.

Moreover, there are many significant ways in which friends and relatives may support someone suffering from mental health issues:

1. Know When Something Is Wrong

A serious mental disorder, like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, seldom manifests spontaneously. People often observe subtle changes or a sense that something is wrong with their thoughts, emotions, or behavior long before a condition manifests fully. Often, those who are close to the person are the first to observe when something is awry.

Identifying and responding to emerging symptoms or warning indications of mental disorders might be helpful. Early diagnosis and response, particularly bipolar disorder care, may help mitigate a disorder’s impact. It may even be able to avert or postpone the onset of a serious mental condition entirely.

Several indicators that someone may be suffering from mental health problems and may require your support include the following:

  • They’ve suddenly lost interest in their favorite activities and passions.
  • They seem to be irritable or depressed for no apparent reason.
  • They no longer seem to take pleasure in anything.
  • They’ve told you they’ve heard voices or had troubling ideas, or they seem to be experiencing these things.
  • They seem to be emotionally desensitized, as though they no longer feel anything.
  • They used to be in good health, but lately, they’ve been complaining that they’re feeling under the weather.
  • They consume either more or significantly less food than in the past.
  • Their sleep schedules have shifted.
  • They seem to be fearful or apprehensive about everyday events or things that appear ordinary.
  • They’ve been absent from jobs or school for an escalating time.
  • They’ve been excessively drinking or taking drugs to come to grips.
  • They’re talking about ending their own lives or feeling helpless.
  • They’re shunning their relatives and friends.

Mental disorders can’t be diagnosed based on a few of these indicators alone, but they may point to the need for more testing. An individual who is experiencing many symptoms at the same time and is having difficulty with school, job, or interpersonal relationships should seek medical attention or consult with a mental health specialist. Moreover, individuals who have suicidal thoughts, ideas, or intentions of hurting others need quick assistance.

Avoid feeling guilty if you’re unaware that a friend or loved one was struggling with a mental health condition. The changes may be subtle, and individuals often conceal their feelings from close relatives and friends. Moreover, taking things gently and working through them together is an effective strategy to guide them toward healing.

2. Learn About The Condition

Understanding the condition may assist you in grasping how it impacts the individual suffering from any form of mental health issue. Additionally, it may instill greater confidence in your ability to support them emotionally. Take the time to learn more about mental health problems by reading reliable material and familiarizing yourself with the symptoms.

You may get information about mental health by attending support groups or programs. There, you may connect with individuals who may have experienced similar things, and you can also seek advice and guidance.

You can conduct an internet search or call local welfare care to learn about such groups. Additionally, you may read about mental illnesses by visiting reputable websites. Alternatively, you may purchase or rent a book about mental health from a public library.

To better understand your loved one’s symptoms, ask them to describe them to you. It may aid you in noticing when they become unwell in the future. In terms of their medication, you can also ask about them, including the dosage and frequency of administration, as well as any adverse effects.

3. Approach The Issue By Talking About It

Perhaps the most difficult and crucial step is just initiating the conversation. You don’t need to be a specialist or know all the answers to engage in a conversation. You just have to tell them you care and that you’re prepared to listen and be there for them if they need it. Also, assure them of your concern and willingness.

Moreover, exhibit patience and compassion, and refrain from passing judgment on their beliefs and behaviors. Take the time to listen and don’t dismiss or dispute the other person’s sentiments. You can also encourage them to get help from a mental health professional.

It may be beneficial for others to compare the circumstances and physical health conditions. For instance, if they worried about hypertension, how probable would they call a doctor?

Tell them that asking for support is an indication of strength. Additionally, it’s essential not to:

  • imply that some are in a worse situation because this is rude
  • criticize them for their behavior
  • avoid the individual
  • employ stigmatizing terms such as ‘psycho’ or ‘crazy’

Moreover, never pressure someone into speaking with you or seeking treatment. In addition, never go to a mental health professional on their behalf. It may make them feel uneasy, as they will have less authority and the ability to communicate for themselves.

It’s also necessary to avoid dismissing their mental health condition. Don’t condemn them or get upset or annoyed. They must not feel that having a mental issue is not a character flaw or shortcoming. Thus, it should not define them as well.

4. Offer Your Time To Listen

Many individuals fear that reaching out will be invasive or exacerbate the situation. However, you’ll quickly learn to discern if the individual you’re conversing with is uncomfortable or unwilling to engage in that kind of discussion.

When someone begins to open up about their issues, paying attention is essential. If you don’t strive to understand what they’re dealing with, you’re not being helpful. Here are some listening tips to guide you in providing the greatest possible support:

Show Your Concern

To truly listen to someone, you must devote your whole time to them, keep eye contact, and be involved. Developing this discipline takes time, so don’t be too harsh on yourself. When you begin the discussion, commit to avoiding any mention of yourself.

You can also maintain a listening journal, even just for a few days. Keep counting how many moments you listened attentively, what problems and distractions you face, and what you believe went well. Also, make an effort to get some insight into the individual you are conversing with.

Be Patient

Effective listening is all about establishing a relationship of confidence with the other individual. The individual sharing must not be pressured, or they would not see the setting as safe. If they have hesitated in their answer, be patient. They may be struggling to communicate their feelings.

Listening without passing judgment enables the other individual to ease into the dialogue and embrace it as a space for reflection or process through tough emotions.

Ask Open-ended Questions

An open-ended inquiry requires you to refrain from interjecting your assumptions regarding how the other individual may be thinking. These questions don’t force a point of view, but rather, they compel someone to pause, ponder, and hopefully grow.

Say It Back

Restate what they’ve said to ensure them you’ve listened. Even if you don’t agree with them, it’s important to demonstrate that you respect their sentiments by demonstrating that you comprehend what they’re saying.

Why Your Support Helps

You may be concerned that you don’t know the best approach to support or that you may say something inappropriate and exacerbate the situation. However, the simple things you say or do may significantly impact someone.

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Simply expressing your empathy for their circumstances might be a big help. People may be hesitant to admit they are struggling, yet connecting with others may be a source of comfort.

It sounds challenging to initiate the discussion, and it’s natural to feel distressed if someone you know is suffering. However, it might be beneficial to keep calm and reassure them that they’re not alone in dealing with issues.

Additionally, you may be there for them in various ways. As an example, you may prepare them a meal, take them out for a stroll, or watch a movie together. If you’re already doing something together, having a conversation will probably come more effortlessly.

Fear frequently hinders individuals from speaking openly about their mental health struggles. However, these obstacles may be sorted by learning more about mental health issues and how widespread they are.

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Helena Valencia is a seasoned blogger with a lot of experience writing for the web. As a mental health advocate, she is eager to share her wealth of knowledge with others. During her free time, Helena loves to do yoga.

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