While not understood by many, people struggling with mental illnesses need as much support as any other person suffering from any ailment or illness. The problem with our society is that it doesn’t acknowledge mental illness because it doesn’t understand the severity of it. The majority of people believe that it’s in the person’s head, but that shouldn’t make it any less legitimate than any other illness. People need to educate themselves and learn about the struggles of mental illness to know how to support their loved ones. Read on to understand these 6 helpful ways to support someone you know who has mental health issues.
1. Be A Good Listener
The best thing that you can do to support someone with mental illness is to be a good listener. Opening up to someone isn’t easy and if a person chooses to open up to you, then you should listen and hear them out. Don’t try to bring up the bright side of a person’s life because this route will make them feel that their problems are trivial, or they don’t matter to you. Instead of showing the positives in their life, tell them that you have no idea how they’re feeling but you will always be there for them and will listen whenever they need.
2. Support Their Treatment Plan
Mental illnesses can’t be healed overnight. It is a long process that needs time and effort. If the person finally decides to seek professional or medical help, then the treatment plan that is set by the doctor must be followed consistently. . The state of Kentucky has several mental health institutes for therapy sessions and you can offer to drive them to every session as a way to encourage them. The mental health specialists at the Kentucky counseling center explain that sharing experiences and seeking guidance can manage mental disorder symptoms. If your friend shows signs of discouragement, be there to lift their spirits and encourage them to ensure they continue with their sessions as they are a priority. Postpone plans or social engagements with your loved one to avoid conflicts with scheduled counseling sessions. Help them continue their progress by going with them.
3. Help Them With Letting Go of Blame
Letting go of blame is crucial because it helps with the healing process. People with mental disorders can sometimes blame others for their troubles because it deflects attention away from focusing on solving the issue. It’s a defense mechanism that is beyond their control and it gives up their power to change and recover. Your role in combating this is by reminding them of the important facts and activities which involve treatment and doing mental exercises to recover. Help them focus on the future instead of dwelling on blame and the past.
4. Be Patient
Being patient is key because a mental disorder can change a person’s behavior. Even though a disorder isn’t an excuse for callous behavior, you must not respond in anger if they lash out at you. Their outbursts can be sudden and beyond their control, but sticking with them and showing them that you still care will help them recover over time. Look past their actions towards you and don’t take it personally. Forgive and forget to increase their chances of progressing forward with their recovery plans.
5. Ask Questions
If a person feels comfortable opening up to you, then this is your chance to ask questions that will make them comfortable and talk more. Part of being a good listener is to choose the right words in a conversation. Don’t overwhelm them with too many questions and focus on keeping them open-ended and neutral to increase the person’s comfort levels.
6. Avoid Coming Up With Solutions
People make the mistake of trying to come up with solutions for a person’s mental issues, but it’s not your place to do that because you’re not their doctor. Avoid telling them to take up a new hobby, go on a diet, take over-the-counter pills, or travel. Try to listen, support, and be there for them instead. People should remember that they are up against a mental disorder and there is no quick way to fix it because it needs time.
Even though our understanding of mental health problems has come a long way over the years, there is still so much to learn to effectively support people with mental illnesses. Being informed is the key to understanding the type of mental disorder that a person has, allowing you to properly support them based on that. Consider following these useful ways to ensure that your loved one stays safe. Be the friendly shoulder for them to lean on and listen to what they have to say because all they need is your love and support.